Ofcom publishes 2013 broadband infrastructure report
The latest Infrastructure Report from Ofcom provides a useful roundup of data from across the broadband industry, both fixed and mobile. Some things like the fact that superfast broadband of one form or another is available to 73% of UK premises is not new, but what is more interesting is the differences in data use across different broadband products.
|Product/Speed||Average Data Usage|
|Fixed Broadband UK wide average||30 GB|
|Superfast (between 30 and 50 Mbps)||41 GB|
|Superfast (50 Mbps and faster)||74 GB|
|Mobile data use per active SIM||0.34 GB|
|Mobile data use per household||1.01 GB|
Oddly while you would expect data use to grow year on year, while the averages for fixed broadband are, there was a dip for superfast products, which the report attributes to previous figures being skewed more towards the early adopters for technology who are also more likely to be the largest data consumers. The gulf between mobile data consumption and fixed broadband shows that while we know some people have abandoned fixed line broadband services for 4G or the faster 3G variants, the number is not impacting the overall figures yet.
The traffic mixture as reported to Ofcom by providers shows that video is the driver behind data growth.
|Traffic Type||% Data Downloaded|
|Video including streaming applications||44%|
|Peer to peer including bit torrent applications, file transfers and news groups||19%|
The issue of the UK availability of first generation broadband (a vague phrase usually taken to mean you get any speed above 128 Kbps from ADSL) has been very much on the agenda since the highly visible roasting various people got by the Public Accounts Committee, so it was with a slight surprise we found the following in the Ofcom report.
"1.19 Where SFBB networks are not available, consumers rely on standard broadband, typically delivered by ADSL technology over conventional copper exchange lines. Standard broadband has been available to almost 100% of UK premises for a number of years, and offers a theoretical maximum speed of 24Mbit/s. However, the speed actually delivered varies depending on the length and quality of individual telephone lines and, as a result, some lines operate at much slower speeds. The Government has committed to ensuring that virtually all households benefit from a speed of at least 2Mbit/s by 2017 - the ‘Universal Service Commitment’ (USC)."Extract from Ofcom 2013 Infrastructure Report
Now we knew and was not really surprised by the estimate by the National Audit Office that the 90% superfast 2015 target was going to be missed, though the NAO do estimate it will hit 88% by the end of 2015. What we have not seen anywhere is a clear statement by the Government that now expect the USC to only be met in 2017. We would have expected Labour to have made even more political points as their plan called for the 2 Mbps to be delivered by 2012.
The hardest part will be tracking whether these targets are actually delivered, as the majority of improvements to deliver superfast and USC level services are totally optional, and some people may not want to switch retail provider or take an upgrade due to contract changes, pricing or other factors. Ofcom has published a new set of line sync data for the UK so we will be analysing that in the coming weeks, as well as looking at the wealth of data we now generate from our speed test independently.