Households in the UK Without TV but With Broadband Have Risen to 1 Million

Households in the UK Without TV but With Broadband Have Risen to 1 Million Image Credit: Ofcom

Ofcom in its Infrastructure Report 2014 said that typical UK households may now need a connection offering of at least 10 Mbit/s to support its internet activities. This is based on the current broadband consumption patterns that point to rapid increase in both time spent on a wide range of digital interfaces as well as the increasing consumption of rich content. Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, found that on average, a UK household or small business is downloading 53 Gigabytes (GB) of data on their fixed broadband line every month - equivalent to 35 feature films, and a 77% increase on 2013. The average home is also uploading 7 GB of data to the internet each month, equivalent to 3,500 digital photographs. Driving this level of consumption is the advent of multi-screen services, which enables sharing of movies, music and applications across a wide range of personal devices. According to Ofcom, as more rich content is consumed and as sharing becomes more widespread, households with connection speeds slower than 10Mbit/s are likely to encounter performance issues on their web activities. 

Ofcom also expects the use of VoIP services to increase from 22% of adults in 2012 to 35% of adults in 2014. VoIP services cover voice communications on data connections enabled by applications as such Skype, Viber, Whatsapp and a host of other OTT services. With the advent of Rich Communications Services that promises the real-time sharing of rich content and integration with other online applications, there is a strong expectation in the market place that VoIP services, RCS and the upcoming VoMBB services will take over the traditional voice services. More surprising is what Ofcom found on the TV services front, where the number of homes without TV but with broadband have risen to one million. At the same time, the number of households with TV fell from 26.33 million as at the end of 2012 to 26.012 million as at end of 2013. On-demand content services such as Netflix, catch-up TV services offered by incumbent TV stations and satellite as well as cable broadcasters and video sharing applications such as YouTube have become some of the alternative sources for information and entertainment across most of today's households.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive 
Digital infrastructure is crucial to the UK’s future. As a country we are continuing to make real progress, particularly in the roll out and take-up of superfast broadband and 4G mobile services. But there is more to be done. We need to continue asking whether collectively we are doing enough to build the infrastructure of the future, and to maintain the competition that benefits consumers and businesses. Our new interactive map is a simple way for people to check coverage for a range of services which are increasingly important in their lives. The way consumers interact with their TV, phone and broadband is changing as fast as technology is evolving. Our challenge is to keep supporting competition and innovation, while also helping to improve coverage across the country - particularly in hard-to-reach areas where mobile and home internet services need to improve.

Executive Editor of The Fast Mode | 5G | IoT/M2M | Telecom Strategy | Mobile Data Innovations 

Tara Neal covers stories on strategies and initiatives in the Digital Telco space, and anchors the 5G and IoT/M2M verticals on the publication. Tara holds a First Class Honours in BSc Accounting and Finance from The London School of Economics, UK and is a CFA charterholder from the CFA Institute, United States. Tara has over 20 years experience in technology and business strategy.

Follow her on Twitter @taraneal11, LinkedIn @taraneal11, Facebook or email her at


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