Three in four UK homes now has access to superfast broadband

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom's annual Infrastructure Report update published today shows that 73 percent of premises are now able to receive superfast broadband, up from 65 percent last year.

Ofcom defines "superfast" as networks delivering download speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s, typically delivered using fiber optic cabling. Around 22 percent of connections now fall into this category with some 4.8 million consumers now having superfast connections, more than doubling last year's 2.1 million figure.

Traffic is on the up too with 650 million gigabytes of data being sent over fixed broadband connections in June, a 26 percent increase over last year. For people who like a handy real-world reference that's equivalent to a billion copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The report also looks at mobile trends and notes that the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots has more than doubled over the year to 34,000. The amount of data being transferred via hotspots has also more than doubled to around 2 million gigabytes a month.

For the first time Ofcom has looked at mobile coverage on the UK's road network and concludes that just 35 percent of A and B roads are served by all four 3G networks and 9 percent has no coverage at all. Over the coming year it intends to look at coverage on the rail network too.

"Superfast broadband is rolling out fast across the country, and 4G mobile will reach at least 98 percent of the population. This is really good news but there remain considerable challenges, not least in hard-to-reach areas for mobile and home internet services," says Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive. "We know consumers increasingly expect superfast speeds, but it’s also important to make sure people can connect over a very wide area. That is why we are doing everything we can to support moves to improve coverage in difficult areas such as roads and train lines".

The full report is available as a PDF from Ofcom's website.

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