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Superfast Broadband Available to 60% of UK Homes but Low Uptake Remains

Wednesday, Jul 18th, 2012 (8:35 am) - Score 1,095

The communications regulator, Ofcom, has released its annual 2012 Communications Market Report (CMR), which covers almost every conceivable variable of the UK’s media and telecom industries. In particular it reveals that 60% of UK homes can now access superfast broadband ISP services (up from 53% a year ago) but uptake is still low.

The data, which mostly covers the period up to the end of Q1-2012, also reveals that uptake of superfast broadband services (most of which command a price premium of £5-£10 extra per month) is still low and now accounts for just 6.6% of all residential and SME connections (1.4 million).

However Ofcom notes that this 6.6% figure still equates to 960,000 (162%) more than there had been a year previously (i.e. 2.1% in Q1-2011). The regulator expects a significant rise over the coming years as Virgin Media, which can reach around half of the country, continues to upgrade its customers cable broadband speeds and coverage of BT’s FTTC technology increases towards passing 66% of premises in 2014 (possibly 90% by 2016/2017 if it wins the lion’s share of government funding).

superfast broadband uptake q1 2012

Elsewhere the proportion of respondents with a fixed broadband ISP connection who were either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their overall service was largely unchanged at 87%. The same was also true for satisfaction with broadband speeds, which held at 80% despite a general rise in performance.

Overall the total number of fixed broadband connections passed 20 million for the first time in 2011, complemented by over 5 million Mobile Broadband connections; in total 76% of UK homes had a broadband service. Sadly total UK telecoms revenues fell by 1.9% in 2011 to £39.7bn, driven by a fall in wholesale revenues.

In addition 8 out of 10 people in the UK had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2012 and the average time online per month per internet user stood at 23.5 hours for 2011. Meanwhile eCommerce continues to grow. The value of retail sales transacted online was £2.6bn in February 2012, up by 30% year on year.

Unfortunately Ofcom’s full report, which also breaks the data down for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is far too big for an easy summary but if you have an entire week free with nothing to do then feel free to examine its many statistical delights below.

Ofcom’s UK Communications Market Report 2012

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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