Almost one million Brits still suffer with appalling broadband speeds, Ofcom report finds

A new Ofcom report reveals a massive 925,000 people are still on downloads speeds of less than 10Mbps

Broadband cable

With all this talk about high-speed internet, it's easy to forget many UK citizens are still struggling to get broadband connections that are faster than the minimum speed needed to stream a Netflix show.

As Ofcom outlines in its Connected Nations Report 2018, some 925,000 households and businesses are still unable to even reach download speeds of 10Mbps, accounting for 3% of UK households and premises. While this number has gone down with each successive report, it hasn't gone down by a significant amount. In May 2016, the figure was at 1.6 million. It then went down to 1.1 million in 2017. With only an extra 150,000 households and premises able to get above the measly 10Mbps in 2018, the availability and uptake of adequate broadband speeds seems to be as sluggish as their download speeds.

"There have been further improvements in the availability of broadband services across the UK. However, more needs to be done to provide consumers with access to decent broadband," Ofcom wrote in the report. "There are still too many people in the UK who cannot get a decent broadband connection."

This figure is in stark contrast to Ofcom's report that 95% of UK premises have access to super-fast high-speed broadband, which it outlined as "providing a minimum 30Mbps download speed".

"It is imperative that, as well as deploying ultrafast broadband, we ensure that every home and business has a minimum level of fast internet broadband internet, especially in rural communities where lack of access can be a serious problem," Matt Powell, editor at Broadband Genie said.

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While it's pretty awful so many people are still on such slow broadband speeds, most of them should be getting an upgrade fairly soon. Come 2020, the government will have to make sure every household and business has access to broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps, following legislation passed in March, albeit with one small caveat.

"Homes and businesses will be able to request a connection up to a cost threshold of 3,400," Ofcom wrote. "For the most expensive to reach properties where the costs of providing a USO (Universal Service Obligation) connection exceed this amount, consumers will need to 

That said, a measly 10Mbps will be even more atrocious by the time 2020 comes around, considering that, according to the report, on the other side of the fence, 1.2 million UK premises have full fibre 1GB coverage. 

"We're still a long way from having a full fibre network that is capable of handling future demand for high speed internet access, though a number of providers have announced plans to further invest in and develop full fibre networks," Powell added. "If the UK is to remain competitive especially given the uncertainty of Brexit we need to rapidly expand coverage of ultrafast broadband while still maintaining healthy competition to avoid a monopoly."

Ofcom will be put in charge of enforcing the Universal Service Obligation's rollout in 2020.

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