Ofcom highlights UK broadband disparity

Ofcom highlights UK broadband disparity

Communications regulator Ofcom has revealed that the average maximum speed of UK broadband connections is just 7.5Mbit per second. While 68 per cent of UK residents have a broadband connection, there is a significant disparity across the nation.

The information is contained within the first ever interactive map of UK broadband performance and accompanying report. The map reveals that Edinburgh has the fastest average maximum speed at 10.1Mbit per second, with Bristol following at 9.9Mbit per second.

The availability of Superfast broadband (considered by Ofcom to be anything above 24Mbit per second) is increasing with 58 per cent of UK residents now able to obtain it, but Northern Ireland boasts 97 per cent availability thanks to a major investment programme.

In a speech last May, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Jeremy Hunt, set out the government's ambitions to provide at least 2Mbit per second broadband to all homes and businesses in the UK. In addition, it has allocated £530 million to assist in creating the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

Today, however, 14 per cent of UK broadband customers still receive speeds of less than 2Mbit per second. And according to Ofcom, the latest published figures from Virgin Media and BT suggest that there are fewer than 500,000 subscribers to superfast broadband, which equates to fewer than three per cent of broadband-enabled homes.

While latency is the major factor in an online game's performance, wide, fast bandwidth is key to providing the digitally distributed services, such as downloadable games and movies that console manufacturers continue to offer.

We've approached some key figures for comment and will follow up with a look at what Ofcom's report means for the game industry.