First interactive UK fixed-line broadband map launched

06 July 2011

Broadband mapOfcom has today published the first interactive map of fixed broadband services in the UK.

The online map uses actual data provided by communications providers to provide a picture of broadband provision in 200 administrative areas across the country.

Users can zoom in and out of each authority and check out a range of data covering:

  • the availability of superfast broadband (the percentage of addresses which are within the coverage area of superfast broadband networks. Superfast broadband services are generally considered to be those that run at over 24Mbit/s );
  • average broadband take-up (excluding superfast broadband connections);
  • average actual speeds for ADSL (broadband over a phone line) and cable services (excluding superfast broadband) averaged across each area; and
  • the percentage of homes with broadband currently not receiving 2Mbit/s speeds and unable to access a cable network.

Each area has been ranked according to a score given for each of the above measures and colour coded with green ranking highest, and red lowest.

The four metrics have also been combined to produce an overall view of broadband in different parts of the UK.

UK fixed-line broadband information

Across the UK as a whole, 68 per cent of UK premises have a fixed broadband connection, and the average maximum speed is 7.5Mbit/s (excluding superfast broadband connections).

The City of Brighton & Hove has the highest take-up of fixed broadband services with 80 per cent.

The City of Edinburgh has the fastest average maximum speeds, with 10.1Mbit/s with the City of Bristol just behind with 9.9Mbit/s.

The City of Edinburgh and City of Bristol also have the lowest percentage of people receiving less than 2Mbit/s (4.5 per cent).

Superfast broadband

Some 58 per cent of addresses are in areas served by a superfast broadband enabled telephone exchange or cable network. Typically 80-90 per cent of lines attached to a superfast broadband enabled telephone exchange are currently able to subscribe to a superfast broadband service.

Luton, in England, and Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland have the highest percentage of addresses served by a superfast broadband enabled exchange (100 per cent).

Ofcom is required to submit a report on the UK's communications infrastructure to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport every three years.

Ofcom is publishing the online map as the first stage of this duty.

The first infrastructure report will be submitted to the Secretary of State later this year and Ofcom intends to build on this map and provide additional information.

Superfast broadband availability across Northern Ireland is very high, with 97 per cent of addresses served by a superfast broadband enabled exchange (although superfast services will not necessarily be available to all addresses).

This follows the completion of major investment in superfast broadband by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland, in conjunction with BT. BT has announced plans to bring superfast broadband to 88 per cent of lines in the country by March 2012.

Fourteen per cent of customers who have fixed broadband connections (excluding superfast broadband connections) are currently receiving speeds of less than 2Mbit/s. Some of these customers could improve their speeds by making changes to their in-home telephone wiring and around 6 per cent have the option to switch to a higher speed cable and fibre based broadband service.

Rural areas

More rural areas tend to have lower speeds and a greater proportion of customers who receive speeds less than 2Mbit/s. This is primarily because copper telephone lines tend to be longer in these areas and broadband speeds delivered over these lines reduce with increasing line length.

In addition, the low housing density also makes it more expensive to build new superfast cable and fibre-based networks in these areas.

Ofcom is publishing this map now following a request from Government to provide information on broadband availability, take-up and speeds in the UK.

This data will be useful to local authorities in developing their broadband plans and should help to speed up the delivery of improved broadband infrastructure to UK citizens and consumers. Ofcom expects to update the maps with new data on an annual basis.

Read the full report including methodology here.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: 'We are now developing a clear picture of the UK's fixed broadband infrastructure and how it delivers for consumers.

We hope that this information will stimulate further rollout of broadband infrastructure and better performance for households and businesses.'