In November 2011, Ofcom published its first Communications Infrastructure Report pursuant to S. 134A of the Communications Act 2002.  The UK's communications infrastructure is changing quickly and this update highlights some of the most notable changes over the last year.  These include:

  • current generation broadband is close to 100% of premises in the UK with overall take up of broadband at 71% of UK premises;  
  • superfast broadband is now available to 65% of UK premises with average broadband speeds having increased from 7.5Mbits in 2011 to 12.7Mbits as a result of the take up of superfast broadband;
  • total data volumes over mobile broadband have more than doubled over the past year, with an average of 246MB of data being consumed for every active SIM;  
  • mobile broadband coverage continues to improve with the number of 3G "not-spots" having fallen to 0.9% of UK premises and the number of premises that can receive a 3G signal having risen from 73% to 77%;
  • virtually every household in the UK now has access to digital TV, radio and interactive services and the coverage of DAB radio has improved with indoor coverage having been extended to 95% of the UK population;  
  • communications providers are investing more in fixed and mobile infrastructure and technologies;
  • there are no substantive concerns in relation to traffic management practices by fixed ISPs.  However some mobile operators are blocking certain services, which, whilst this is a concern, Ofcom considers that competition between operators should be an effective means of addressing such concerns provided consumers are made aware of these practices.

Ofcom has also published interactive maps on its website that provide more detailed information on the coverage of fixed and mobile networks in different parts of the country.