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Cable.co.uk comment: Ofcom annual report points to poor rural broadband and mobile coverage

  • Ofcom has today revealed that 1.4 million UK homes and offices remain unable to access broadband speeds over 10Mbit/s
  • Its Connected Nations 2016 report states that 5% of properties cannot reach the speed required to meet a typical household's daily needs
  • Total geographic 4G coverage, where a signal is available from all four operators, is available to just 40% of UK land mass
  • Commenting on the data, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, said: "It’s all very well pointing and saying ‘this many homes have rubbish broadband and diabolical mobile reception’, but the real question remains: How exactly, in each individual case, are we going to achieve that?"

Friday 16 December 2016: Ofcom has today revealed that 1.4m UK homes and offices – or 5% of properties – are unable to access broadband speeds over 10Mbit/s, the speed required to meet a typical a typical household's digital needs.

The findings are part of the telecoms regulator's Connected Nations 2016 report, an in-depth look at the state of the UK's telecoms and wireless networks. It reveals that around a quarter of properties in rural areas – nearly 920,000 – cannot receive a connection of over 10Mbps. Meanwhile, 'total' geographic 4G coverage, where a signal is available from all four operators, is available to just 40% of UK land mass.

The government's universal service obligation aims for 100% of UK properties to be able to access 10Mbit/s by 2020.

This is Ofcom's press release, issued today

Commenting on Ofcom's findings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, said:

"Both the USO of 10Mbit/s and the ultimate aim of 100% mobile coverage for the UK landmass are honourable aims. Ofcom is doing exactly as it should in its Connected Nations report – keeping close tabs on how it’s all going and highlighting to government areas of particular concern."

"However, no one is committing to exactly how this is going to happen. Facetiously, if you’re living in a hillside cottage in the Highlands and the promise is you’ll have 10Mbit/s by 2020, should a letter not have already dropped through your door carrying an explanation of exactly when and how this is going to happen?"

"We’re nowhere near there yet. It’s all very well pointing and saying ‘this many homes have rubbish broadband and diabolical mobile reception’, but the real question remains: How exactly, in each individual case, are we going to achieve that?”

Notes to editors

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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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