Ofcom has published its second annual International Communications Market report, which found that broadband take-up continues to increase in the UK with over half of all households connected at the end of 2006, putting the UK slightly ahead of the US for the first time.
Broadband is the fastest growing communications sector accounting for 9% of total telecoms revenue across the 12 countries in 2006. The total number of broadband connections increased by more than 600% between 2001 and 2006. This growth has been driven mainly by DSL broadband which is now the largest broadband platform in all the countries analysed except the US and Canada.
Consumer research commissioned for this report shows that in most countries, apart from Japan, the majority of consumers are satisfied with the speed of their broadband connection. Consumers are most satisfied in the US, at 85%. 68% of UK broadband were satisfied with their broadband speed, while satisfaction was lowest in Japan, at 41%. Ironic given Japan's heavily touted fibre network.
In the UK and the US, women use the Internet more often than men. In the US, 52% of internet users are women and in the UK the Internet is used equally by men and women except in the 18-34 age group where women spend more time online than men (57% compared with 43%).
It's also reported that 40% of UK households already take a bundled service. A typical family household in the UK with two parents and two children, who use a basket of communications services that includes a landline, basic pay-TV and the Internet, will pay £25 a month on a triple-play deal. This compares with £27.22 in France and £39.77 in Germany. The same family in the US will pay £69.54.
By the end of 2006 there were 402 million landlines (39%) and 634 million mobile connections (61%) across the twelve countries surveyed and in the majority of the countries surveyed the number of mobile subscriptions outnumbers the population. Italy has the highest number of active mobile connections with 139 subscriptions per hundred people followed by the UK with 115. The number of mobile connections is also high in Russia at 106.
Accessing the Internet from a mobile phone is growing in popularity. In Japan, where over half of mobile phones use a 3G network, mobile users are three times more likely to send an email from their mobiles as they are a text message. However, Europeans send more text messages with 75 per cent of mobile phone users in the UK, France, Germany and Italy sending SMS messages regularly.
It's worth pointing out that Ofcom's report compares the UK with eleven other countries: France, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Canada and the United States.
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