Digital Exclusion map of the UK may mislead decision makers
The Big Data Society is brilliant and as guardians of the availability and coverage data checker that we run we worry about data that is even just a few weeks old, but the Go ON UK partnership while clearly not meaning to has used Ofcom data on 2 Mbps availability as one of the metrics in deciding which local authorities suffer the most Digital Exclusion.
The Go On UK system fed in an Ipsos Mori poll of 4,000 people across the UK and has combined this with the 2013 Ofcom data and other data sources to arrive at its conclusions. There are areas like Conwy which Ofcom in 2013 had on record as having 13.2% of premises not receiving 2 Mbps (3.3% superfast availability) and scroll on two years and the difference is massive with 1% not receiving 2 Mbps and superfast (30 Mbps or faster) available to 75.1% according to our own figures. What we don't know is what effect this will have on their overall heat map, but in the current environment where the UK is often portrayed as having an awful broadband picture using two year old data is not helping.
The effects of Digital Exclusion are very dramatic particularly with the race to low cost provision of many services by Government and commercial bodies so while we are grateful to Go ON UK for highlighting the problem we believe that much more recent data should have been used so that any decisions made by those with the power to help the digital excluded can with greater precision target limited resources.
The situation regarding coverage at under 2 Mbps is particularly important as we should very soon be told all about the USC scheme and we believe there are 58,161 postcodes representing around 420,000 premises and if you include the ability for alt-net broadband providers to provide better speeds this figure drops to around 370,000 premises (based on a data analysis from 17th October 2015.
|Four Nations Postcodes Likely to get broadband at speeds of 2
Mbps or slower
based on analysis from 17th October 2015
(click to view larger version)
(click to view larger version)
To help everyone see how things currently are, and we believe Northern Ireland is seeing more and more roll-out of FTTC with new sub cabinets and FTTP to improve the coverage there. The twenty worst constituencies for USC coverage are listed below.
|The 20 constituencies with the worst coverage at 2 Mbps or
slower as of 17th October 2015
Based on thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast and USC Broadband Coverage, check your area at labs.thinkbroadband.com/local
|Area||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 15 Mbps||% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
|Fermanagh and South Tyrone||20.9%||41.3%||51.7%|
|Newry and Armagh||14.2%||33.2%||59.6%|
|Thirsk and Malton||5.5%||23.6%||70.8%|
|Torridge and West Devon||5.3%||35.2%||53.3%|
|West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine||5%||28.6%||60.1%|
|Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale||4.9%||36.6%||52.4%|
|Banff and Buchan||4.7%||26.7%||66%|
The above charts and data is to some extent already out of date, the roll-outs are seeing around 200-300 postcodes per week vanishing from the sub 2 Mbps chart. We will continue to chart the 2 Mbps fixed line figures even when the widely expected satellite voucher scheme launches as it is important to see how well the Openreach roll-out is doing. Northern Ireland dominates the worst 20 areas, but this is also the part of the UK where we are seeing the most infill type activity.