UK digital divide narrows, but major problems remain for homes and offices 0

The UK’s patchy and frequently shoddy broadband network has held back the country for a long time. According to a new report from industry regulator Ofcom, however, there are signs of improvement with the number of UK domestic and commercial properties unable to get a decent broadband connection falling by one million over the past year. Even so, around 5 percent of offices and homes are unable to enjoy  broadband speeds over 10 Mbit/s, the speed Ofcom claims is required to meet a typical household’s digital needs.  The findings are part of Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2016 report – an in-depth look at the state of the UK’s telecoms and wireless networks. This year’s report shows good progress on the availability and take-up of communications services, which are crucial to people’s personal and working lives.

However, the report finds there is much more to do – particularly in boosting mobile and broadband coverage, and improving the quality of service provided by telecoms companies. For example, rural areas still lag behind on broadband. Around a quarter of properties in rural areas – nearly 920,000 – cannot receive a connection of over 10 Mbit/s, often because they are situated a long way from the telephone exchange or local street cabinet.

To help close this speed gap, Ofcom has set out its technical advice for the UK Government on implementing its plans for universal broadband. The Connected Nations report also presents the current level of mobile coverage across the country. While the picture is improving, with 4G reaching more premises, coverage still falls short and Ofcom wants to see better coverage across the UK’s landmass.