A million United Kingdom homes still get crappy broadband speeds, groans Ofcom

Only 63 per cent of the country receives a 3G signal outdoors that supports mobile data Ofcom said

Only 63 per cent of the country receives a 3G signal outdoors that supports mobile data Ofcom said Yui Mok Press Association Archive

More than a million homes and businesses in the United Kingdom still can't receive "decent" broadband, but the digital divide is narrowing, according to a report from regulator Ofcom.

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More than 1m "forgotten homes" across the United Kingdom are unable to get sufficiently fast broadband to meet a typical family's needs, from watching Netflix to browsing YouTube.

Indeed, the number of premises purchasing superfast connections has risen from 9.1 million to 11.2 million in the previous year.

This lack of decent broadband speeds could stymie people and businesses from accessing the services they need to carry out tasks such as working from home.

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"Everyone should have good access to the internet, wherever they live and work", he added. "So Ofcom is supporting plans for universal broadband, and promoting investment in full-fibre technology that can provide ultrafast, reliable connections". This is now defined as broadband offering a download speed of at least 10 Mbit/s, with an upload speed of at least one Mbit/s.

Since then, BT has made a firm offer to supply USO connections through the quasi-independent Openreach network delivery business, but other ISPs have criticised this because if a voluntary offer was accepted, the USO would not be legally binding, and possibly would constitute illegal state aid for BT.

This report outlines the main developments in coverage and performance of fixed broadband and mobile networks, as well as network security and resilience.

Superfast broadband - defined as a download speed of 30Mbit/s or more - was available to 85% of Northern Ireland homes and small businesses by May 2017, up from 83% a year earlier.

Conservative MP Grant Shapps, who is head of the parliamentary British Infrastructure Group, said: 'As Britain leaves the European Union it is more important than ever that people are able to communicate and work from home.

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Coverage was often poor on roads and railways, said Ofcom.

But too many people in the United Kingdom still struggle to get a sufficiently strong signal - particularly in rural areas and on roads and railways.

It plans to enforce existing spectrum licence requirements - operators must deliver 2G coverage to 90 percent of the United Kingdom landmass while O2 must provide 4G to 98 percent of the opulation - and to impose new ones in future auctions.

For calls and text messaging, 30 per cent of the UK's geography does not receive a signal from all four operators - down from 37 per cent a year ago. Ofcom has recently installed equipment on Network Rail's engineering train.

Improving broadband coverage was a cornerstone of last month's and 2016's Budget announcements, and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced all properties across the United Kingdom would benefit from universal high speed broadband via BT's Openreach back in July.

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"While the industry works to improve mobile coverage, it's vital people can get a trustworthy picture of reception across the UK".

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