Superfast broadband take-up may be plateauing, unclear why consumers not keen, says Ofcom

fibre broadband, UK

Growth in superfast broadband take-up “might be reaching a plateau”, Ofcom has warned, and it is “unclear” why more UK consumers are not signing up for 30MBps service given the “relatively high levels” of coverage.

The UK regulator made the comments as part of its annual Connected Nations report.

Thirty one percent of premises, or 9.1 million houses and offices, have subscribed to superfast broadband, which represents a year-on-year rise of four percentage points.

Superfast coverage has increased from 83 percent to 89 percent of premises (25.5 million) over the period.

Growth in coverage has been driven by BT upgrading its network, Virgin Media converting more homes to faster packages, the rise of alternative fibre-only networks, and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, Ofcom said.

However, it said it remained “concerned” that the UK has “very low” coverage of FTTH/P broadband, with the country ranked 17 out of 19 countries.

At the other end of the spectrum, five percent of premises (1.4 million) are still unable to get broadband speeds in excess of 10 MBps.

Rural areas continue to suffer with 25 percent of premises (nearly 920,000) unable to get the baseline figure.

Read more: UK operators offer “poor” mobile coverage to transport lines and rural areas

Nevertheless, Ofcom concluded that there had been “good progress” on the availability and take-up of communications services with one million more premises getting a 10MBps connection over the last 12 months.

Overall, the average download speed jumped by 28 percent from 29 MBps this time last year to 37 MBps today.

Ofcom said this reflected better coverage and the fact that people chose to pay for faster broadband packages.

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