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Wholesale VoIP Feature Article

UK Adults Want More Bandwidth as Reasons for its Use Climb

August 08, 2014
By Steve Anderson, Contributing Writer

It's not likely to prove a surprise to most anyone who's been watching the change in technology over the last several years that consumers want more bandwidth. Whether it's for streaming video or head-to-head gaming at home, or for video conferencing and cloud storage at work, there are plenty of demands on bandwidth that show up. But a new report from Ofcom, as related in Tech Week Europe, reveals that the extent of that bandwidth demand might be even larger than some might have expected, particularly in the U.K.

The Ofcom report, titled the “Communications Market Report” (CMR), points out that there is, as many expected, a rapid increase in the amount of 4G, public Wi-Fi, and superfast broadband consumed. Interestingly, one thing that's also on the rise — which could account for some of this growth — is the expansion of VoIP service use. This increased use has led to a major hike in revenue, with revenues for 2013 hitting 60.2 billion pounds sterling (around $101.3 billion U.S) for the fixed and mobile communications market, television, radio and other industries.

The CMR carries on with a slew of big numbers, pointing out the 83.1 million mobile connections in the U.K., and how all these connections make a combined 134.1 billion minutes of calls in a year, and send almost as many texts — 129.9 billion — in the same year. The sheer number of 4G connections is increasing at a staggering rate, up to six million now from 318,000 a year when 4G was limited to EE alone. But now, 73 percent of the U.K population has access to EE, and the service has 4.2 million subscribers to its credit right now. Beyond that, O2 (News - Alert) has 41 percent of the populace, and Vodafone 36 percent, according to numbers from March 2014. Connections measuring at least 30 Mbps are found in just over a quarter of homes, measuring in at 26.7 percent, and marketing efforts from the major firms in the sector — including EE but also Sky and TalkTalk — are helping to drive this.

Public Wi-Fi use is also said to be steadily on the rise — 15 percent of users connect at work or at school, but 11 percent turn to public places like bars and restaurants — and average television viewing is on the decline, below four hours a day for the first time since 2009. More than 90 percent of the population still listens to radio, but the amount of use is on the decline, and music streaming is up, particularly among the young.

It's a strange sort of dichotomy at work here, with television and radio on the decline and Wi-Fi use up. It could be that U.K. folk are turning more to online sources to address video needs, and certainly the reports that VoIP service use is up contributes to that in grand style. But it does seem to be an issue of migration overall; many users, known as cable cutters in the United States, have thrown over cable TV for online sources instead. More choice and lower bills make a very tempting package, and that's what often comes of using online sources for video and music. The U.K. also seems to have better connections on hand for much of the population, likely owing to the U.K.'s comparatively smaller size

Still, it's clear that people want bandwidth, and bandwidth demand is likely only to increase as more services become available and more people discover the value of same.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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