Technology

Ofcom launches UK's first interactive map of fixed broadband

MUMBAI: UK media watchdog Ofcom has launched an interactive map of fixed broadband, using actual data provided by communications providers about the UK‘s broadband infrastructure.


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.


As the first stage of meeting its infrastructure duty, Ofcom is publishing the online map, which allows users to zoom in and out of administrative authorities of the UK and provides a range of data to offer a picture of broadband provision in each area.


 
The map, available at http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/, was compiled using data provided by communications providers and covers 200 administrative authorities.


Specifically it covers:


availability of superfast broadband (the percentage of addresses which are within the coverage area of superfast broadband networks);
- average broadband take-up (excluding superfast broadband connections);
average maximum speed for ADSL and cable services (excluding superfast broadband); and
the percentage of homes with broadband currently not receiving 2Mbit/s speeds.
 


 
In its report, Ofcom noted that overall broadband performance is lower in areas of low population density, such as rural Scotland and Wales.


This is reflected in lower average modem sync speeds, higher
percentages of homes unable to achieve 2 Mbit/s and lower availability of superfast broadband.


There is high availability of superfast broadband across Northern Ireland. This is a result of private investment by BT, Virgin Media and other communication providers and a public procurement project lead by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) which aimed to bring superfast broadband to 85 per cent of businesses and was completed in April of this year.


BT has subsequently announced that it will continue to invest in Northern Ireland as part of its ongoing superfast broadband deployment. It has announced that 88 per cent of lines will be served from a FTTC enabled street cabinet by March 2012. At a UK level, the analysis indicates that 14 per cent of non-superfast broadband connections are currently not achieving speeds of 2Mbit/s or more.


However, in practice, many consumers can take action to receive higher speeds. Consumers wanting to improve their speed can try the following:


Check with their ISP to see whether they are on a package which limits their speed to below 2Mbit/s and whether their line could reliably support higher speeds.
For broadband delivered over the telephone line, make sure they have installed the correct filters on each telephone socket and consider installing a special â€?iPlate‘ filter on the front of their telephone master socket to reduce the level of interference from electrical appliances in the home. We have produced a guide to explain this in more detail.17
Check whether other ISPs can offer improved speeds. For example, by switching to cable or FTTC broadband services if these are available at their address. Consumers could also consider whether wireless solutions, such as satellite broadband and mobile broadband delivered via mobile â€?dongles‘ would provide a better service at their address.
Ofcom estimates that by switching to cable or FTTC, the percentage of connections receiving less than 2Mbit/s could be reduced.

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