Ofcom’s Postcode Broadband Connectivity Data now on UKCrimeStats

So where are the worst and best broadband spots across the whole country?

Using our new feature https://ukcrimestats.com/Broadband/ you can find out. I’m always amazed how many people buy or move into any new place without having a serious idea of how good the broadband and mobile connectivity data is. And I would include myself in that category. But this should help you.

We have matched the official broadband connectivity data released by Ofcom by postcode to the postcode centroids (a latitude/longitude fix for each of the 1.6 million postcodes) to every geospatial shape, population by postcode census figure and households by postcode figure to give you new insights into the unfortunately, still rather large broadband not-spots across the country. You can also rank results and export all of them to excel for further analysis.

Some caveats;

  1. the number of households (data we’ve inserted – approx 28 million) is not the same as the number of premises (homes + buildings not lived in – approx 30 million). However, the superfast contracts – bringing fibre to the cabinet – actually didn’t include business parks/premises (poor decision, that one imho). Some of those left-behind buldings have since pursued their own solutions which are off Ofcom’s radar. And most have not.
  2. Residential populations have changed a bit since the 2011 census, mostly upwards. Precise figures available with the next census in 2021.
  3. Ofcom’s data is from mid-2018. Granted, there has been quite a lot of progress since then. Depending on whom you believe, UK full fibre coverage extends between 7% and 3% across the whole country. BT’s own Openreach “fibre” checker nevertheless now refers to the same Ofcom data. And there is some debate about whether the 7% includes premises passed, premises connected and premises actually buying full fibre to the premises products. Even then, some of it – thinking of KCOM in Hull – seems to offer full fibre products at copper speeds.
  4. Postcode unit shapes do not fit nicely inside any other geospatial shape like constituency, ward etc. – if only! They overlap. So this is an approximation, but a good one because the middle of a postcode, the centroid is applied consistently across all 1.6 million. So in the round, it’s accurateish.
  5. We are working on the data on Scotland – coming very soon, equally Northern Ireland.
  6. This is not a caveat, if you want serious accuracy for all – government really should release the full postcode address file (i.e. 1 acme road, town, postcode x 28 million), the uprn (individual premises building number with a lat/long) for every building and the full postcode unit shape, all free of charge. At the moment, only big business can afford to pay the fees to government financed/protected monopolies for these (Ordnance Survey/Post Office). That’s actually a disgrace because it tilts the barriers to entry against start-ups and small businesses who will drive our future innovatiuon and growth from zero to 1. I used to push this argument a lot with my former colleagues at the Institute of Directors. Understandably, bright as many people are in the policy world, not many have the data brains to get to grips with it, unless they work with data. I’m very hopeful that the new Boris government will see the light and unleash creative spirits by taking this extremely high yielding – and – cheap step forward. Open data has lost its way, it’s time to re-invigorate the cause.