The government has fulfilled a ‘manifesto commitment’ to bring ‘superfast broadband’ to 95% of the UK, the government says.
Pointing to figures released by www.thinkbroadband.com, the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) is overjoyed that ’19 out of 20 UK homes and businesses now have the opportunity to upgrade their internet connections to superfast speeds of 24 Mbps or faster – more than double what Ofcom advise is required by a typical family home’.
Hurrah! But what’s this? There’s a ‘caveat’ in thinkbroadband’s press release, which is: ‘…the 95% target is not a consistent 95% across all communities in the UK, but with areas like Epson and Ewell, Tamworth, Worthing and Watford and others all pushing into the 99% superfast coverage zone these areas pull the figures up compared to the City of London (50.3%), Orkney Islands (66.8%), Western Isles (71%) and Kingston Upon Hull (71.7%) at the other end of the table.’
The Orkney Islands outstripping the City of London? Isn’t that interesting?
But anyway, culture secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Over the last five years, the government’s rollout of superfast broadband has made superfast speeds a reality for more than 4.5 million homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out.
‘We’ve delivered on our commitment to reach 95% of homes and businesses in the UK, but there’s still more to do in our work building a Britain that’s fit for the future. We’re reaching thousands more premises every single week, and the next commitment is to making affordable, reliable, high speed broadband a legal right to everyone by 2020.’
And that’s all well and good, but only 3.4% of homes and businesses can access full fibre broadband, which is the really important stuff as we go forward into an access-everything-online world.
Last August, it was revealed that the UK’s is 31st in the world broadband speed league table. Most of Europe outstrips our average download speed of 16.5Mbps, with Spain managing 19.6Mbps, Hungry 23Mbps, and the mighty Sweden hitting the swooning heights of 40Mbps.
Thus, though the government’s declaration of victory is kind of justified, there’s still a huge amount to do – and this has nothing to do with the fact that I can only get 1.5Mbps at my house.