This is according to the regulator’s most recent Connected Nations report published today (December 16)
The number of UK homes and businesses able to get broadband speeds of over 10Mbit/s (1.25Mbps) has fallen from 2.4 million to 1.4 million over the past year, according to Ofcom.
These findings are the result of the regulator’s most recent Connected Nations 2016 report released today (December 16). According to Ofcom, speeds of more than 10Mbit/s are the minimum required to complete online tasks such as streaming video or listening to music. The UK currently has the fifth best broadband services out of 19 countries. It falls behind Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.
It added there is still plenty to do in improving the quality of service provided by telecommunications company. It claims rural areas are still behind on broadband, with nearly 920,000 in these parts of the UK unable to get a connection of more than 10Mbit/s. This is despite several major internet providers spending millions into improving broadband coverage throughout the UK. Virgin Media, for example, is investing £3 billion to roll out fibre broadband with speeds of up to 152Mbps to more than 17 million homes throughout the UK by 2020.
The report outlines various guidelines Ofcom believes can help the UK government solve these problematic areas, adding it will become even more important with the increase of data-heavy applications and software. It recommended a universal service by all providers which would cover three areas; a standard 10Mbit/s offering, a more highly specified version with 1Mbit/s upload speeds and a superfast internet service. The government added this service would have to be funded by the industry, with Ofcom adding any companies providing it would have any costs recovered by telecoms companies. A ‘social tariff’ for low income households has also been considered
Ofcom group director Steve Unger said: “Mobile and broadband coverage continued to grow this year, but too many people and businesses are still struggling for a good service. We think that is unacceptable.
“So we’re challenging mobile operators to go beyond built-up areas, and provide coverage across the UK’s countryside and transport networks. Today we’ve also provided technical advice to support the Government’s plans for universal, decent broadband.”
Despite its major findings, the report claims the coverage and quality of internet across the UK has increased significantly over the last year. Average download speeds for broadband jumped from 29Mbit/s to 37Mbit/s. More than 9.1 million homes have chosen to take up broadband with speeds of more than 30Mbit/s or over – up from eight million the previous year. Overall, superfast broadband is available in 25.5 million households due to BT upgrading its network and Virgin Media’s Project Lightning expansion.
Indoor mobile coverage improved, according to Ofcom. It claimed seven out of 10 premises can now receive a 4G mobile signal indoors, up from 28 per cent last year. However, total geographic 4G coverage isn’t as strong covering 40 per cent of the UK – an increase from eight per cent from the year before. More than 30 per cent of the UK cannot receive a signal for voice calls from all four operators, an improvement on 42 per cent in 2015.