Br0kenTeleph0n3

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Ofcom reveals state of the nation’s comms capacity

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The volume of data passing through the London Internet exchange rose seven fold in five years, communications regulator Ofcom reported today in its first triennial report on the UK’s communications infrastructure.

This means fixed broadband users are consuming 17Gb of data per month, or about 11 movies. Mobile broadband users consume just 0.24Gb, but Ofcom notes that much mobile broadband traffic is off-loaded onto fixed networks, either by end users or by mobile network operators themselves.

3G mobile coverage, which the operators say is at its economic limit, means that 7.7 million, or about a quarter of all UK homes, cannot get a  choice of 3G signal.

Maps produced by Ofcom from operators’ figures show that 97% of premises and 66% of the UK landmass can receive a 2G signal outdoors from all four 2G networks. This leaves some 900,000 UK premises without a choice of all four 2G mobile networks.

Ofcom said 73% of premises and 13% of the UK’s landmass can receive a 3G signal outdoors from all five 3G networks, with lower coverage in less densely populated areas. “This means that approximately 7.7million UK premises do not have a choice of all five 3G mobile networks,” the regulator said.

Ofcom said 14% of residential broadband connections are currently operating below the 2Mbps speed that government wishes to make available to virtually all homes by 2015.

“We expect the number of sub-2Mbps connections to fall over the coming year as customers upgrade to new technologies and resolve in-home wiring issues that are affecting the speed of their connection. Superfast broadband networks (offering speed of over 24Mbit/s) now pass 58% of UK premises and BT plans to reach two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2015.”

BT said this week it planned to speed up spending of £300m to cut that deadline by a year. In an interview,  BT’s group strategy director Sean Williams, said its fibre products (mainly up to 40Mbps fibre to the cabinet) now passed five million homes, and it had more than 200,000 end users. BT planned a quarter of its fibre rollout would be a 100Mbps service to homes, and it would test a 1Gbps service soon, he said.

Virgin Media, whose cable TV network is BT’s biggest threat, said it had four million broadband customers, with more than 150,000 taking its 50Mbps service, one-third more than a year ago. It said two million homes would have access to a 100Mbps service in 2012, and it was starting tests of a 1.5Gbps link following aa successful test of a 1Gbps service in London this year.

UK infrastructure dashboard 2011

Fixed telephony (PSTN)

Coverage of fixed line telephony

100% of premises

Fixed broadband

Coverage of broadband at 2Mbps or more

86% of existing connections

Coverage of Superfast broadband (>24Mbps)

58% of premises

Mobile 2G (outdoor)

Premises served by all operators

97% of premises

Premises not served by any operator

<0.1% of premises

Geographic area coverage by all operators

66% of land area

Geographic area not served by any operator

6% of land area

Mobile 3G (outdoor)

Premises served by all operators

73% of premises

Premises not served by any operator

1% of premises

Geographic area coverage by all operators

13% of land area

Geographic area not served by any operator

30% of land area

Digital terrestrial television

Households served by three multiplexes (public service broadcasting channels)

89% (rising to 99% by Nov 2012)

Households served by six multiplexes (all digital terrestrial television channels)

73% (rising to 92% by Nov 2012)

Digital radio

Households served by BBC national multiplex

91% of households

Roads served by BBC national multiplex

74% of roads

Households served by the national commercial multiplex

85% of households

Roads served by the national commercial multiplex

64% of roads

CapacityCapacity2 (for March 2011)

Fixed telephony (PSTN)

Number of active residential telephone lines

23.7 million

Total number of residential fixed voice calls

1,717 million

Fixed broadband

Average fixed broadband modem sync speed

7.5Mbps

Total data throughput on residential fixed lines

311,000,000 GB

Average data throughput per residential connection

17 GB

Mobile

Total number of active mobile connections

76.4 million

Total number of mobile calls

10,406 million

Total mobile data throughput

9,000,000 GB

Average mobile data throughput per 3G connection

0.24 GB

Digital terrestrial television

Total capacity of six multiplexes

121 Mbps (rising to 161Mbps by Nov 2012)

Digital radio

Total capacity of the two national DAB multiplexes 2.5 Mbps

Source: UK Communications Infrastructure Report 2011

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Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/11/02 at 08:00

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