Superfast take-up – Point Topic’s broadband maps highlight the ‘digital divide’

December 10, 2012   |   Oliver Johnson

Broadband health check – is superfast taking off in the UK?

Point Topic has just published its latest analysis of broadband take-up in the UK. Data to the end of June 2012 reveals the full picture of superfast and standard broadband as they spread through the country.

Superfast broadband take-up, June 2012

Superfast take-up in the UK – percentage of all premises, residential and business, with a superfast line

“Overall the UK is faring well.  Ahead of much of Europe on many metrics already we now have the chance to look at the next frontier of broadband, adoption,” says Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic.

Point Topic has tracked broadband in the UK for almost 15 years.  Using a number of public and private inputs the company has updated its bi-annual view on take-up throughout the UK at a postcode level.

“It’s one thing to say that a particular level of broadband is available, essentially where particular technologies have been deployed.  Take-up of those services is not a given.  Demand might be high but the costs of subscribing can be high too.  That can stall the advance of superfast broadband in particular and the risk is that the poor and disadvantaged areas of the UK fall further behind on the wrong side of yet another ‘digital divide’.”

Superfast broadband deployments covered over 50% of the UK’s households and businesses at the end of June.  Take-up has started strongly and where the upgraded technologies have been deployed for some time, like Northern Ireland, the map above shows that it does drive adoption.  However it’s not the whole picture.

“While Northern Ireland might be doing well relative to the rest of the UK at this stage there is a real concern that once the more affluent among us have subscribed the remainder will find the premium they have to pay for more bandwidth to be a step too far,” says Johnson

The comparative adoption rates of broadband overall highlights the issue.

The pattern that emerges is clear.  Densely populated, relatively affluent areas are significantly ahead even today.

“There are a number of initiatives underway to try and close the gaps.  Broadband Delivery UK in particular is where we are looking for significant advances in rural areas and other locations where commercial deployment has failed to penetrate.  It will be at least a year however until we get to see what sort of difference the projects are able to make.

“Superfast broadband in the UK is not rude health yet, but it’s on the path and time will tell if it will be a tool for the people or the preserve of the few,” says Johnson.

Point Topic’s report Mapping broadband in the UK – Q2 2012: Broadband take-up estimates for every UK postcode is available online for everyone to access.


High resolution versions of the images are available on request

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About Point Topic

Point Topic is the primary websource for broadband supplier and user statistics, information and reports. Its data is in use worldwide amongst governments and all major commercial organisations operating in broadband. A range of online services provides the most up-to-date, accurate and cost effective worldwide specific broadband data sets available.  See for more details.

For media information please contact Oliver Johnson, [email protected], +44(0)20 3301 3303