Ofcom highlights broadband challenges  header image

A new report from Ofcom has highlighted the broadband challenges currently faced by the UK. 

While the government's rollout of super-fast services has proved highly controversial and attracted wide-ranging criticism, the telecoms watchdog said "good progress" is being made. 

However, it also recognised there is "still more to do" when it comes to ensuring the whole country can benefit from improved connectivity. 

It highlighted four specific challenges that need to be overcome, the first of which is the rural rollout. Ofcom said the government and broadband industry are currently looking into how the final five per cent of hard-to-reach areas can be connected. 

"While this is technically complex and expensive, it is important that these remaining homes and businesses are not left behind," the watchdog stated. 

One way of reaching the final five per cent is satellite broadband, which has recently been highlighted by both the CLA and National Association of Local Councils as a means of solving this problem. 

Another challenge cited by Ofcom is so-called 'city not-spots'. This refers to urban areas where there is a poor level of super-fast broadband coverage and this is usually due to there being no street cabinets to upgrade. Ofcom said communications providers are looking into ways this can be resolved.

The watchdog also revealed the need for super-fast broadband to be widely available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It said that at present, the number of SMEs with access to these services is lower than UK premises as a whole and action is needed to remedy this. 

Ofcom revealed it will be looking into what would be required to support the rollout of ultra-fast broadband at some point in the future. This would provide speeds of up to a gigabit per second, but it will be some time before such technology is widely available to the public.