The UK continues to trail the rest of the world when it comes to the speed of its broadband connections, an Ofcom report revealed today.
The International Communications Market Report showed that only 10 per cent of broadband connections in the UK receive a speed of over 8Mbit/s. This compares to 26 per cent in France, 33 per cent in Sweden and 37 per cent in The Netherlands.
However, Richard Thurston, an analyst with Analysys Mason, argued that broadband speeds in the UK are on the verge of rising, as companies like BT begin to roll out super-fast broadband services to 40 per cent of the population.
"Speeds are increasing quite rapidly, and homes and businesses in areas that receive the new broadband will see a vast improvement in their services," he said.
Nevertheless, the figures will cause further debate about the UK's broadband infrastructure after a recent Eurostat report placed the UK eighth in the EU for broadband speeds.
The report will also put more pressure on the government's universal service commitment to get the whole population online with minimum speeds of 2Mbit/s by 2012.
Thurston noted that a 2Mbit/s connection will be a marked improvement for many businesses in rural areas, but could still not be fast enough for many.
However, while speeds are not the highest, the report did note that the UK had some of the lowest costs for broadband services, having decreased 10.1 per cent since 2003 to an average of around £16 per month, compared with £20 in the US, £23 in Italy and £25 in Spain.
Thurston argued that, while UK prices are some of the lowest ever recorded, they are unlikely to get much lower and may start to rise again in the coming years.
"Certainly for consumer ADSL the price seems unlikely to fall much further, but business fibre connections for next-generation access are still falling across Europe," he said.
The report also revealed that mobile data has risen dramatically in the UK, with almost 24 per cent of mobile revenues being derived from non-SMS services, up from seven per cent in 2003.
Furthermore, the availability of 3G and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) connections in the UK remain some of the highest in the world, with 3G available to 93 per cent of the population and HSPA to 91 per cent.
By comparison, France has coverage of 77 per cent for both HSPA and 3G, while Germans enjoy a coverage rate for both of 85 per cent.
Overall mobile revenues also rose from £10bn in 2003 to £15bn in 2008.
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