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Ofcom UK Publishes New Interactive Map of Mobile Broadband Coverage

Posted: 01st Nov, 2011 By: MarkJ
2011 3g uk mobile broadband coverage mapofcom uk average broadband ISP speeds March 2011The United Kingdom's communications regulator , Ofcom , has today added to its existing interactive UK maps of broadband speeds, local TV coverage and mobile phone base stations by introducing several new ones for Mobile Broadband Availability, Freeview and Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) radio coverage.

As with the previous map of fixed line broadband ISP speeds (here), the new Mobile Broadband availability map ranks each area on how they score for coverage, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest (best coverage) and 5 the lowest (worst coverage). As you might expect the geographic coverage (pictured, right) for 3G mobile data services is incredibly poor.
2G Coverage (Mostly Voice and SMS)

The maps show that 97% of premises and 66% of the UK landmass can receive a 2G signal outdoors from all four 2G networks. Approximately 900,000 UK premises do not have a choice of all four 2G mobile networks.

3G Coverage (Mobile Broadband)

Some 73% of premises and just 13% of the UK’s landmass can receive a signal outdoors from all five 3G networks, with lower coverage in less densely populated areas. Approximately 7.7 million UK premises do not have a choice of all five 3G mobile networks.

The areas of lowest 3G geographic coverage are in the highlands of Scotland and mid-Wales, which are both sparsely populated with hilly terrain.
The UK governments Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, recently announced his intention to invest up to £150 million into improving the country's mobile voice and internet data network coverage from 95% to 99% of the population (here). Ofcom claims to be "working closely with the Government" on how best to allocate this.

Ofcom's CTO, Steve Unger, said:

"This is our first report to the Government on the UK’s communications infrastructure. We hope it will be a useful reference point for interested parties, particularly in the light of the recent Government funding package of £150 million to help address mobile not-spots.

Over the next 12 months, we expect there to be continued rapid growth in availability of super-fast broadband services and data use, and we aim to publish an update on this next summer."

The latest map data also reveals that residential fixed broadband ISP customers are using on average 17GigaBytes (GB) of data per month, which falls to just 0.24GB per month for Mobile Broadband services; that's not surprising as most are limited Smartphone based connections as opposed to dedicated USB Modem (Dongle) services.
Ofcom UK Interactive Maps
http://maps.ofcom.org.uk
Ofcom UK Communications Infrastructure Report
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/telecoms-research/bbspeeds2011/infrastructure-report.pdf
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