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97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom

Talks up ‘ultrafast’ connections though rural ones still pants

Most Brits can get broadband at home these days, according to regulator Ofcom, but the service is still pretty patchy.

The telecoms authority said 97 per cent of folks in Blighty are able to get at least basic broadband of 2Mbps, and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark.

Ofcom considers this speed – 10Mbps – the typical requirement for a household in these days of video streaming and near-constant connectivity.

“Fixed broadband technology is almost universally available and the average download speed for the entire UK is currently 23Mbps,” the regulator said in its infrastructure report. “However, broadband speeds available to consumers vary considerably.”

Ofcom also pointed out that the universal service commitment for broadband was set at 2Mbps by the government in 2009, and it may now need to be revised given the advent of superfast connections.

“There is emerging evidence that a typical household requires a download speed of around 10Mbps. Below this level, demand is likely to be constrained,” the report said.

There are still a quarter of homes that don’t have any fixed broadband at all, although some of them are getting their services through mobile data.

However, around 18 per cent of households don’t have any internet at all.

“We identify four specific sets of concerns: rural availability, city not-spots, the availability of superfast broadband to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and the need for a roadmap from superfast to 'ultrafast' broadband,” Ofcom said.

While Ofcom works on getting the last few homes connected up, they’re already looking at ultrafast connections of 1Gbps.

“Industry and policy makers are considering what networks are needed to support speeds of a gigabit per second, commonly referred to as ultrafast broadband. The UK is seeing some early deployments of ultrafast broadband and more consideration is needed on how to build on this,” the regulator added. ®

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