UK technological infrastructure not meeting demands of businesses

infrastructureThe UK’s technological infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the availability of broadband and mobile services and not meeting demands of small businesses and homes, according to Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2014. The report outlines the challenges facing the Government as it seeks to deliver appropriate technological infrastructure for both businesses and consumers. The report suggests that  although there is an overall improvement in the availability and quality of broadband services, many remote and rural areas aren’t being connected quickly enough, there are too many urban ‘not-spots’, a lack of superfast broadband for small businesses and no discernible plan for the uptake of the next generation of ultrafast broadband. The report found the average UK household or small business is downloading 53 Gigabytes (GB) of data on their fixed broadband line every month.

Other findings of the report include:

More than a third of people now make phone calls over the internet…

The use of ‘voice over IP’ services, such as Skype or Apple Facetime, has risen from 22 percent of adults in 2012 to 35 percent this year. New services are becoming available that allow mobile phone users to make a call easily over the internet, just as they do over the mobile network.

…but demand on mobile networks is also increasing fast

The average mobile owner’s data usage has increased by 55 percent since last year, to around 1.5 GB per month.. It is forecast to increase four-fold between 2013 and 2018, driven by consumers using devices such as tablets, e-readers and mobile phones on developing 4G networks.

Three quarters of the UK’s motorways are now covered by a 4G signal

This is one example of how UK mobile coverage continues to improve. Today’s report shows that EE, which launched 4G services in October 2012, currently has the highest coverage of the four national 4G networks (70 percent of premises). O2 and Vodafone launched their 4G services after Ofcom completed its spectrum auction in February 2013, and both now cover 51 percent of premises.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Digital infrastructure is crucial to the UK’s future. As a country we are continuing to make real progress, particularly in the roll out and take-up of superfast broadband and 4G mobile services. But there is more to be done. We need to continue asking whether collectively we are doing enough to build the infrastructure of the future, and to maintain the competition that benefits consumers and businesses.”