UK embraces digital age

"There will always be an England," English soldiers sang as they marched to the muddy trenches of the First World War, but it will not be the same England. A just-published Ofcom report says that U.K. citizens adopt the digital age wholeheartedly, as evidenced by the increasing popularity of broadband access, VoIP services and cellular phones.

Ofcom, the British communication regulator, says that more than 10 million British households now have broadband, and that nearly two million of these homes use their broadband for VoIP. The number of public WiFi hotspots has increased from 8,500 in 2004 to nearly 15,000 today. Mobile phone calls now account for 31 percent of all phone calls in the U.K.--up from 28 percent in 2004. This upward digital trend is only going to continue, especially as unbundled local loop services--allowing competing operators to offer customers telephone, broadband, voice, and television over the Internet, in addition to video-on-demand services--are now already available to about 44 percent of the population, up from 34 percent in 2005. This unbundled approach allows customers to pick and choose the services they want, resulting in a larger over-all increase in consumption.

Note: Despite the increase in usage, the average telecom costs for the typical household fell by 5 percent, the result of increasing competition and deregulation.

For more on UK digital trend:
- see Ofcom's report

MORE: Global WLAN chipset sales reached $910 million in 2005, and they are projected to reach $2.3 billion in 2009, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. F&S forecasts the global A-GPS chipset sales to grow from $546.3 million in 2005 to $1.4 billion in 2009. Report

ALSO: Ofcom is criticized for the way it has handled the 3G spectrum auction and for the likely effect it will have on 4G. Report

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