Ofcom, the UK regulatory body for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries, has published a new report into the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure, backed by a series of maps which help illustrate the reach of digital communications across the country.
The maps are based on data supplied by various communications providers, and they help paint a picture of outdoor mobile coverage, not to mention digital TV and Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) radio coverage too.
The UK Mobile Services Map, for example, lets you look at the level of outdoor mobile coverage by administrative authority, letting you choose to look at 2G or 3G, covering premises and geographic landmass:
Each of the 200 areas of the UK on the mobile coverage map have been ranked according to a score given for coverage, and colour coded with green ranking highest and red lowest.
What the maps show…
In terms of 2G – which is suitable for making calls and sending text messages – the maps illustrate that 97% of premises, and 66% of the UK landmass, can receive a 2G signal outdoors from all four 2G networks. This translates to approximately 900,000 UK premises not having a choice of all four 2G mobile networks.
As for 3G coverage, which is what’s needed for mobile Internet access, 73% of premises and 13% of the UK’s landmass can receive a signal outdoors from all five 3G networks, meaning that almost 8m UK premises don’t have a choice of all five 3G mobile networks.
The maps arrive on the back of Ofcom’s first report on the UK’s communications infrastructure, which it must now submit to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport every 3 years. You can read the Infrastructure Report for yourself, and it gives an interesting overview of the UK’s communications infrastructure, but it’s worth pulling a few key points from it here.
As you can see from this table, figures from March shows that the average data consumption of fixed broadband in the UK is 17GB per month, which – as Ofcom notes – “is the equivalent of downloading more than 11 films per month, streaming 12 hours of BBC iPlayer HD video or more than 12 days of streaming audio content.”
Over in the mobile sphere, it seems the widespread uptake of smartphones is leading to an average of 0.25GB of data consumed each month. And interestingly, there’s a total of 76.4m active mobile connections, in a population of 61.8m.