Ofcom backs 4G to bring Wales up to speed with rest of UK

The imminent roll out of 4G services across Britain is likely to benefit a number of regions, but a new report from Ofcom says this move will have the biggest impact on rural Wales .

Research from the telecoms regulator shows that access to superfast broadband in Wales is significantly lower than the rest of the UK, with just 48 per cent of its residents eligible for a speedy connection. That’s compared to the British average of 73 per cent.

Just 66 per cent of all homes in Wales had an active broadband connection in the first quarter of 2013, nine per cent lower than the UK average of 75 per cent, while fixed line services were 8 per cent lower than the UK average of 84 per cent.

Wales is however much more up to speed with Britain when it comes to smartphone ownership, which grew from 12 per cent in 2012 to hit 54 per cent this year.

Furthermore, device ownership among Welsh citizens in rural parts of the country grew by 33 per cent to 48 per cent over the same period, which suggested that these people are using mobile internet to make up for their lack of superfast broadband.

Bearing this in mind, Rhodri Williams, director of Ofcom in Wales, said the introduction of 4G, along with the adoption of 4G sims, should help parts of rural Wales stay connected.

“Wales remains at the forefront when it comes to mobile-only homes and it is encouraging to see rural Wales leading the way in smartphone ownership, a trend set to continue with the imminent rollout of 4G service across the UK.”

Mr Williams said that in addition to the faster mobile broadband speeds, 4G services will bring greater innovation, new investment and better coverage for the country.

According to computerweekly.com, at least 95 per cent of Welsh population will be able to receive 4G by the end of 2017 at the very latest.

4G Services will enable home users to enjoy faster broadband as well as the many business advantages including delivery of remote connectivity for M2M monitoring and management applications inlcuding the use of 4G routers and M2M gateways.