Digital Nation: Ofcom Reports on UK dTV and Web Uptake

27 April 2006

British telecoms and media regulator Ofcom on Wednesday published its statutory periodic Communications Market Report. The study examines availability, take-up and usage of internet, telecom and broadcasting services across the UK.

Key findings from the current survey are . . .

Internet and Telecommunications

  • BT data shows that 99.9% of premises in the UK are connected to a broadband enabled exchange. However, not all premises within these exchange areas are suitable for delivery of broadband services, particularly at higher speeds, due to local factors such as distance from the exchange

  • Internet take-up (dialup and broadband combined) in rural areas across the UK is higher than in urban areas. Urban areas have embraced broadband more quickly although rural areas are catching up.

  • Levels of PC ownership, internet and broadband take-up (among internet households) can vary by as much as 18 percentage points across the three nations (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and nine English regions.
  • Wales and the North West of England have the highest take-up of digital television, both at 72%. London and Northern Ireland have the lowest levels of digital television take-up at 58% and 53% respectively.

  • There are clear geographic differences in television viewing habits - people with digital TV in Scotland and the North East watch the most television in the UK (both at 28 hours per week) whereas those in London and Northern Ireland watch the least (23 hours/week).

  • Radio listening also varies geographically with the number of weekly hours spent listening to the radio highest in the South of England (at 26 hours per week) and lowest in the North East, Scotland and Wales (at 22, 23 and 23 hours respectively).
Says Ed Richards, Ofcom chief operating officer: "This is the first time that robust comparative data for the [UK] has been brought together in this way. The analysis highlights a series of important challenges that will face industry, Ofcom and various tiers of government in the future."

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.

Data sourced from Ofcom (UK); additional content by WARC staff