Broadband News

ISPA celebrates 25 years as ISP trade body

  • Thursday, September 24, 2020 10:04 AM

ISPA is celebrating its 25th Anniversary after being formed in 1995 and has published a report highlighting the rough timeline for key changes in the 25 years it has functioned an ISP trade association. 

Some of the key and to some they may seem impossible figures are:

  • Consumers today can access the internet 200,000 times faster than in the 1990s
  • Average downstream bandwidth available to the UK consumer has increased from 5.3Mbps at the end of 2004 to well over 200Mbps downstream across the UK in 2020
  • Median upstream bandwidth has also grown from 0.3Mbps in 2010 to 29Mbps in 2020
  • The total number of broadband subscribers in the UK has doubled since 2007 from 14 million to over 27.2 million in 2020
  • Today you can get a gigabit connection for as little as £30/month and on average across the UK it’s £60/month – 6p a megabit
  • In 1995 there were a handful of infrastructure players, today there are hundreds, with national operators complemented by alternative networks and Fixed Wireless operators

There will be a lot of people scoffing at the well over 200 Mbps figure, but remember that Virgin Media with its 500 Mbps service is available to just over half the UK and 1 in 6 properties also have access to an FTTP service (the 1 in 6 includes RFOG FTTP) with speeds from 300 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

The upload figure shows that while there is a vocal group moaning that upload speeds are ignored by providers the upload speeds have improved substantially. One observation to be made is that once you have FTTP and are enjoying upload speeds of 50 to 100 Mbps or more the bottleneck for cloud access stops being your connection and is more limited by the service your data is being uploaded to.

25 years of ISPA is a hugely important milestone. As this report details, the rise of the ISP sector in the UK today can be closely interlinked with the vital work that ISPA has done over the years to represent and promote best practice and favourable policy outcomes for the sector.

As the UK faces even greater and more complex challenges in our response and recovery to COVID-19, it will continue to rely on the ISP sector to underpin this development. At 25, ISPA therefore remains as important as ever, and we look forward to the next 25 years of driving progress in the ISP sector.

ISPA Chair Andrew Glover

For those thinking the 1 in 6 properties are now passed by a FTTP service is wrong, our tracking is at 16.68% of UK premises as of 24th September 2020, up from 16.57% on Saturday 19th (next publication date is Saturday 26th). Also as we are behind the actual roll-outs by around 8 to 10 weeks there is probably another one to two percentage points on top of that.

The rural areas of England and Wales have been ahead in the FTTP roll-out race due to the work of people like B4RN and other FTTP providers and the various BDUK deployments but with the focus on increasing FTTP footprints rapidly urban parts of England and Wales things are actually neck and neck with both rural and urban areas running at 15.8% coverage. In what is termed deep rural areas FTTP availability increases to 19.8%.

The 15.8% is of course lower than the overall UK figure because Northern Ireland brings the average up and both Northern Ireland and Scotland have different ways of measuring rurality.


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