Ofcom's broadband claims come under question header image

Published: 24th Mar 2014

Ofcom's claim the UK has the best broadband in Europe has been questioned. 

The telecoms watchdog recently released a scorecard, which said Britain is ahead of France, Germany, Italy and Spain when it comes to super-fast broadband availability, broadband take-up and weekly usage of the internet among other factors.

However, this has since been questioned by the chairmen of two local business partnerships - Buckinghamshire Business First and Oxfordshire Business First - who have accused Ofcom of giving the UK a "selective ranking".

Alex Pratt and Frank Nigrello have written an open letter to the watchdog and the government, taking issue with the claims made in the latter's scorecard.

"Ofcom’s selective ranking of the UK as number one leaves the public and businesses less well informed as to the reality of UK broadband coverage," they stated.

The letter also said the government's own figures show there are roughly ten million homes in Britain that only receive a connection speed of between two Mbps and 24 Mbps, which is below Ofcom's own 30 Mbps threshold for super-fast broadband.

"These 'have nots', which include some of our most productive business premises in rural locations, are being left to languish in the slow connectivity lane indefinitely," Mr Pratt and Nigrello sated.

It was claimed Ofcom's scorecard was misleading as it only compared the UK against four other European nations and did not include the likes of Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania and Latvia, where broadband speeds are higher than in Britain.

Mr Pratt and Mr Nigrello also said the country is someway behind nations in other parts of the world, such as Asia, when it comes to the quality of broadband services. 

"Painting an unduly rosy picture serves us all badly," their letter concluded. The two chairman claimed this amounts to "institutional denial" of the need for a change in policy regarding broadband investment.

They concluded the standard of connectivity in the UK at present is handicapping the efforts of the nation's economy.