Since 2011 Ofcom has published an annual report on communications networks in the UK, previously called Infrastructure reports they are now called 'Connected Nations'. A large portion of this report relates to home and mobile internet access and since 2014 this data has included useful information about connection speeds. The latest data set is from May 2021, although it is worth keeping in mind that situation is constantly evolving.
The past few years have seen vast improvements in connectivity speeds in Somerset, with the majority of connections now being considered Superfast or better. The number of broadband connections in Somerset with speeds over 30Mbit/s has increased by more than 7-fold since 2015. In 2015 around 17% of connections were faster than 30Mbit/s. In 2021 this has risen to 89%. At the same time, connections under 10Mbit/s have decreased from over 50% of all fixed connections in 2015 to less than 4% of connections in 2021.
The Government aim is for all UK premises to have access to basic broadband speeds of at least 2Mbit/s. There are just over 1500 connections in Somerset with speeds still under 2Mbit/s. Connecting Devon & Somerset are working on improving internet to these harder to reach or less commercially viable areas.
Superfast, Ultrafast, and Gigabit Capable
Faster home broadband services are classified as either Superfast (30-300Mbit/s download speeds) or Ultrafast (>300Mbit/s). Gigabit capable coverage (connections that have been identified as delivering download speeds of 1 Gbit/s or more) are on the rise, with around 14% of premises in Somerset having access. Although the Government has met its nationwide target to provide Superfast broadband for at least 95% of UK properties, the figure for Somerset remains much lower, with only 89% of properties having access to Superfast or higher speeds.
Connection speeds in Somerset have improved greatly over the past few years, but the percentage of premises with Superfast, Ultrafast and Gigabit capable are all below the national averages. Similarly, the percentage of properties in Somerset without access to 'Decent' broadband (defined as 10Mbit/s download and 1Mbit/s upload speed) is higher than the national figure.
Whilst Superfast connections are common across Somerset, the spread of Ultrafast connections is not even across the County. In the Mendip district almost 45% of premises have access to Ultrafast speeds, in comparison to only around 9% in South Somerset.