The graphs on this introductory page are regularly updated and should give you some indication as to the status of national broadband performance, access, uptake and availability in the United Kingdom.
At present home internet access is primarily delivered over fixed lines and through a variety of different technologies, which are explained in the above categories. Ofcom (telecoms regulator) splits these services into two camps based on their performance:
Broadband Speed Definitions (Ofcom)
Services that supply actual internet download speeds of at least 2Mbps (Megabits per second), which is generally delivered using Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) or ADSL2+ technology over existing copper telephone lines.
Services that supply headline download speeds of at least 30Mbps, which are most commonly provided through fibre optic and or coaxial cables in the form of Hybrid Fibre / Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre-to-the- Home (FTTP/H) or cable (DOCSIS). It’s worth noting that some government supported broadband schemes define superfast as 25Mbps+.
At the time of writing some 92% of the country could access a ‘standard broadband’ service (note: this rises to 99.9% if you include sub-2Mbps speeds), which falls to 78% for superfast connections (older data from 2013 splits this coverage as 88% Urban / 76% Semi-Urban / 25% Rural); this reflects Ofcom's data from Q1-2014.
Take note that BT's open fixed line telecoms network, which is used by most of the main ISPs except Virgin Media and some smaller providers, dominates most of country’s national infrastructure and reaches nearly 100% of the population. By comparison Virgin Media’s closed cable network covers around 50% of the country and is primarily focused on urban areas.
Meanwhile Satellite services can reach close to 100% of the population but they are costly and quite restrictive. By contrast there are a growing number of fixed wireless networks (FWA) but these are predominantly niche and only cover specific areas. Finally Mobile Broadband is available to most people and is reasonably affordable, if a little more restrictive than fixed lines.
Data Sources (Graphs and Statistics):
* Market Share by Technology (Ofcom Data Tables Q1-2014)
* Broadband Coverage (Ofcom 2014 Communications Market Report)
* Superfast Broadband Coverage (Point Toptic / Ofcom Q1 2014)
* Superfast Broadband Lines (Point Topic Q4-2013 / Ofcom)
* Total Broadband Lines (Ofcom Data Tables Q1-2014 / Point Topic)
* Fixed Line Broadband Speeds (Ofcom Q1-2014 Speeds Report)
* The UK Best Broadband ISPs for 2014
* Broadband Buyers Guide
* UK ADSL Broadband Internet Connection Tips and Tweaks
* Broadband Solutions for Remote and Rural UK Communities
* The Definition of UK Superfast Next Generation Broadband