Ofcom, the UK's regulator for communications has released its annual Communications Market Report. There is a good summary on their site and an interesting new interactive section where Ofcom invites feedback. The report covers some key trends in the communcation market including:
The increase in popularity of Mobile broadband 'dongles'
The continued growth of SMS text messaging
Flat rate home phone pricing
The BBC News website has a particularly good summary of the report with some very accessible graphs. They note the 400% increase in time spent on the Internet from 2002 to 2007 and the maturing broadband market.
"Over the years of the study the time Britons spend using some communications and services has grown enormously. In particular web and mobile use has boomed in the last five years."BBC News.
Almost all homes with a PC now have broadband, which explains the move by some retailers to focus on giving away laptops to drive broadband growth. Speeds are increasing too:
"Average headline broadband speeds rose from 3.6 Megabits per second (Mbps) in December 2006 to 5.9Mbps at the end of March 2008, said Ofcom."
Thinkbroadband however questions Ofcom's stats on this huge increase in average speeds:
"It is however somewhat questionable how much of this is reflected in true speeds received by end users. Previous information we have published gave an average throughput speed for the UK of 3238Kbps from over 6000 locations around the UK in June 2008. Once the overheads inherent in ADSL communication are accounted for this translates to a headline speed of around 3.7Mbps." Thinkbroadband.
And according to Ofcom there are just 2.5M homes left using dial-up. Neil Armstrong Products Director, Plusnet