With the year coming to a close, Ofcom has released a new report which looks at the state of broadband and mobile coverage in the UK and how it has developed since last year. It reported that all the mobile networks have begun rolling out 5G and that full-fibre availability has increased by 67%; however, it said that rural areas still need improved connectivity.
Discussing broadband connectivity, the report found more than half of homes can get ultrafast broadband, which is defined as a connection offering a download speed of at least 300 Mbit/s. It revealed that this figure is similar to last year, which suggests there’s not been much improvement in terms of availability.
Things on the full-fibre broadband front are better. Last year, Ofcom found that just 6% of homes could get this type of connection; this year, an extra 1.4 million homes have become able to connect to full-fibre. In all, roughly one-in-ten homes can now get full-fibre broadband.
Probably one of the biggest achievements has been to reduce the number of homes in rural areas that aren’t able to get a good internet connection. Last year, Ofcom reported that 677,000 rural homes were unable to get a good connection. This has fallen to just 155,000 thanks to the availability of wireless broadband services. From March, homes and businesses that are still unable to get a good connection will be able to request one under the Universal Service Obligation, which Ofcom is responsible for on behalf of the government.
On the mobile front, Ofcom said that 66% of the UK is covered by 4G reception from all four networks. It did admit that things can get a bit patchy in areas but there are targets in place which will see 4G reach 95% of the UK by 2025. Ofcom also highlighted that 5G has begun rolling out and is available in 40 UK towns and cities – it said this technology will help support innovative new services for mobile users and businesses in the years to come.