Rural areas still lagging behind on connectivity, Ofcom report finds

Rural areas still lagging behind on connectivity, Ofcom report finds

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Telecoms regulator Ofcom has released its latest annual Connected Nations report into the state of mobile and fixed-line connectivity throughout the UK and has found that while progress is being made in the provision of high-speed services, some parts of the UK are still missing out.

In particular, it noted that rural areas are still significantly less likely than urban or suburban locations to have access to either superfast broadband or a strong mobile signal.

However, there was positive news as well, as the proportion of premises that are unable to secure 'decent' broadband - defined by the regulator as an average download speed of 10Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps - has halved in the past year, from four per cent to two per cent.

This equates to around 677,000 homes and offices around the country that are still unable to access these speeds, of which 496,000 are in rural areas. Ofcom is looking to tackle this in the coming years through the implementation of the government's universal service obligation, which will ensure that eligible homes and offices have the right to request decent broadband by 2020.

Ofcom's latest report also revealed that the number of premises with a superfast broadband connection, offering download speeds of at least 30Mbps, now stands at 94 per cent, up from 91 per cent last year.

Half of homes and businesses (50 per cent) now also have ultrafast capabilities, which is around ten times faster than superfast broadband. This is an increase of 14 percentage points in the last 12 months.

Finally, the regulator also revealed that the number of homes with full fibre connections has more than doubled over the past year, with 1.8 million premises now able to access this technology.

"Full fibre is very reliable and can deliver speeds above 1Gbps," the regulator stated. "Ofcom has taken a range of steps to promote investment in full fibre, and we expect coverage to increase in the coming months."

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