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 most government supported broadband schemes define superfast as 24Mbps+.
Services that supply headline download speeds of at least 300Mbps, which are most commonly provided through pure fibre optic cables (FTTP/H) or in the form of hybrid fibre solutions (G.fast, XG.Fast, DOCSIS). NOTE: Others define the starting point as 100Mbps+.
As of June 2016 around 99%+ of the country can access a basic broadband connection, although estimated speeds do vary (i.e. 1% of premises get less than 2Mbps and this rises to 5% [1.4 million] for those who can't get 10Mbps). Similarly 89% can recieve a "superfast" connection (30Mbps by Ofcom's definition, rising to 91% for 24Mbps+), which drops to 59% in rural areas.
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 45-50% of the country and is primarily focused on urban areas (expanding to 60-65% by 2020).
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 Q3-2016)
* Broadband Coverage (Ofcom 2016 Connected Nations Report + BDUK)
* Superfast Broadband Coverage (BDUK / Government Q2 2016 Update)
* Superfast Broadband Lines (Ofcom Data Tables Q3-2016)
* Total Broadband Lines (Ofcom Data Tables Q3-2016)
* Fixed Line Broadband Speeds (Ofcom Q1-2016 Speeds Report)
* The UK Best Broadband ISPs for 2017
* 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