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Digital communications mapped out across UK
Using data supplied by communications providers, they provide a picture of outdoor mobile coverage and mobile broadband availability, as well as Freeview and Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) radio coverage.
They join three existing interactive Ofcom maps published earlier this year which examined broadband speeds, potential local TV coverage and mobile phone base stations.
With the mobile coverage map, each of the 200 areas of the UK has been ranked according to a score given for coverage and colour coded with green ranking highest and red lowest.
Ofcom’s data shows considerably better household coverage compared with geographic coverage.
This is because mobile providers tend to prioritise investment in network infrastructure where the maximum number of consumers and businesses can be served.
The maps show that 97% of premises and 66% of the UK landmass can receive a 2G signal outdoors from all four 2G networks.
2G coverage is suitable for making calls and sending text messages.
This means that approximately 900,000 UK premises do not have a choice of all four 2G mobile networks.
For 3G – which enables you to watch videos and TV and access the internet through your mobile phone – 73% of premises and 13% of the UK’s landmass can receive a signal outdoors from all five 3G networks, with lower coverage in less densely populated areas.
This means that approximately 7.7million UK premises do not have a choice of all five 3G mobile networks.
The areas of lowest 3G geographic coverage are in the highlands of Scotland and mid-Wales which are both sparsely populated with hilly terrain.
Ofcom is currently working closely with the Government to consider how the £150m that it has allocated to help address mobile not-spots, can deliver the greatest benefits for UK consumers. Working to address mobile not-spots is one of Ofcom’s priorities as set out in its 2011/12 annual plan.
The maps are part of Ofcom’s first report on the UK’s communications infrastructure which it is now required to submit to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport every three years.
The report gives a snapshot of the UK’s communications infrastructure and provides a base against which Ofcom can measure for subsequent reports.
Ofcom’s Chief Technology Officer, Steve Unger, said: ‘This is our first report to the Government on the UK’s communications infrastructure. We hope it will be a useful reference point for interested parties, particularly in the light of the recent Government funding package of £150million to help address mobile not-spots.
‘Ofcom welcomes feedback from all stakeholders, particularly around whether there are others areas it should consider for future reports in order to build up the most complete picture of the UK’s communications infrastructure. Over the next 12 months, we expect there to be continued rapid growth in availability of super-fast broadband services and data use, and we aim to publish an update on this next summer.’
Each of the mobile networks have coverage checkers which can give you an indication of 2G and 3G coverage according to your postcode.
You simply enter the postcodes of your home, office and anywhere else where you know you’ll depend on good coverage. The site should then give you a guide as to what you can expect.
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