UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has published its annual communications market report and it reveals a healthy increase in broadband speeds.
Over the course of 2018 2.2 million people upgraded to ‘superfast’ (at least 30 Mbps) broadband, taking the total to 15.6 million connections out of a grand broadband total of 26.6 million. This resulted in the average residential download speed increasing by 18% to 54.2 Mbps, more than double the figure claimed by cable.co.uk earlier this week.
Apparently fibre-to-the-cabinet overtook full ADSL for the first time last year and we managed a whopping 500,000 full fibre connections, which was almost double the 2017 total. We’re told that 7% of UK premises had access to full fibre by the end of 2018, compared to just 3% a year earlier.
All this super-duper speed inevitably led to increased consumption, with average data use per fixed broadband line increasing by 26% to 240GB per month and average monthly use per mobile data connection increasing by 25% to 2.9GB. Equally unsurprising is the revelation that this is mainly driven by video streaming.
“A major factor behind this growth is the increasing popularity of TV streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which is making traditional broadcast TV increasingly irrelevant and could eventually lead to it becoming entirely obsolete,” said Alex Tofts of Broadband Genie. “But these services, especially if viewed in 4K, can be data intensive and require a reasonably fast and, ideally, unlimited connection.”
Broadband Genie is a price comparison service, as is Cable.co.uk, so they have a commercial interest in people being dissatisfied with their existing service. Presumably anyone finding their fixed broadband inadequate for 4K streaming is already in the process of upgrading, or just settling for boring old HD. Anyone trying to stream 4K to their phone needs to ask themselves why.