Rural market offers new business opportunity for telecom vendors in UK

Rural connectivity in UKThe Connected Nations 2017 report released today by UK regulator Ofcom indicates new business opportunities for telecom equipment vendors.

Leading telecom equipment vendors actively pursuing mobile technology deals in the UK market are Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Cisco, HPE, Juniper Networks, Dell EMC, IBM, among others.

Ofcom said around one million homes and offices still cannot get a decent broadband connection in the U.K. This means, Vodafone, BT-owned EE, Three, O2, among others, will look for expanding their network for offering high quality broadband services.

Ofcom is concerned that around 1.1 million homes and offices, or 4 percent of properties, cannot get the broadband speeds — download speed of at least 10 Mbit/s and upload speed of at least 1 Mbit/s – to meet their typical needs.

The good news is that the number of homes and offices which are not getting decent broadband connection has fallen from 1.6 million premises last year.

Ofcom said around 17 percent of rural premises are not getting decent broadband services, compared to 2 percent in urban areas.

Nearly 91 percent of UK homes and small businesses (27 million) have the option of taking superfast broadband with download speed of 30 Mbit/s or more by May 2017 as compared with 89 percent (25.5 million) a year earlier.

Four in 10 premises (38 percent or 11.2 million) have purchased superfast broadband connections as compared with less than a third (31 percent or 9.1 million) a year earlier.

Nearly 2.7 million SMEs, or 84 percent of the UK total, have the option of getting superfast broadband or faster – against 81 percent (1.9 million) in 2016. Around 230,000 SMEs are not getting a decent broadband connection with download speed of at least 10Mbit/s and upload speed of at least 1Mbit/s.

Full-fibre broadband is only available to 3 percent of homes and offices, up from 2 percent a year earlier.

The growth in data carried over UK broadband networks was 52 percent. The average home broadband connection now carries 190 GBytes of data in a month.

“Broadband coverage is improving, but our findings show there’s still urgent work required before people and businesses get the services they need,” said Steve Unger, chief technology officer at Ofcom.

Mobile coverage

Nearly six in ten premises (58 percent) can receive an indoor 4G mobile signal from all four networks, up from 40 percent last year.

Too many people in the UK still struggle to get a sufficiently strong signal – particularly in rural areas and on roads and railways. Total geographic 4G coverage, where reception is available from all four mobile operators, is available across 43 percent of the UK’s landmass.

For calls and text messaging, 30 percent of the UK’s geography does not receive a signal from all four operators – down from 37 percent last year.