Majority Of UK Homes Can Have 20 Mbps Broadband, Says Ofcom

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Fixed broadband access is available to almost every house in the country

Sixty percent of UK households can now enjoy superfast broadband, according to the 400-page long annual Ofcom Communications Market Report published today.

If the watchdog is to be believed, overall fixed broadband availability stands at 100 percent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 99.87 percent in Scotland.

Connected nation

The report has found that superfast broadband – defined as connections with a potential headline access speed of at least 20Mbps – is now available to 60 percent of the UK households. At the moment, only 6.6 percent, or 1.4 million homes, actually use these connections.

Fibre-To-The-Cabinet broadband, one of the fastest options for a regular user, is available to 31 percent of UK homes, with an impressive 87 percent coverage in Northern Ireland.

Overall broadband take-up among adults in the UK stands at 76 percent. Out of these, 13 percent use mobile broadband through dongles or PC data cards. Average broadband speed in the UK by the end of last year was 7.6 Mbps.

For comparison, in 2010 the Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future report found that the share of UK Households with broadband access was just 71 percent, with an average speed of 5.2 Mbps.

Average time online per month per Internet user in 2011 was 23.5 hours.

According to Thinkbroadband.com, one of the most important conclusions from this year’s report is that the UK is rapidly moving away from using postal services, opting for cheaper and more immediate forms of communication – texting, e-mail and social networks.

Other interesting facts from the report include the revelation that two thirds of UK Internet users have at some point accessed Facebook. Half of British adults admitted to using social networking sites regularly at home.

Spending on online advertising last year was greater than any other category of advertising, at £4.8 billion, against £4.2 billion for TV and £3.9 billion for good old paper. The value of retail items sold online was £2.6 billion in February 2012, up by 30 percent from a year before.

“Ofcom’s report shows smartphones have become one of the most important devices used to access the Internet. This has dramatically increased the number of Internet users and, according to Cisco’s 2012 annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, by 2016 there will be 3.4 billion Internet users, making up approximately 45 percent of the world’s population,” commented Ian Foddering, CTO and Technical Director of Cisco UK&I.

“The Internet has become an integral part of our lives, with more and more people relying on it everyday for the social and working lives. VNI data has projected that there will be 72 million Internet households generating more than 200 gigabytes per month in 2016, and 19 billion networked devices,” he added.

The Ofcom report has also found that, for the first time ever, the number of texts being sent in the UK has outgrown the number of calls being made on both mobile and fixed connections.

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