Surprise, surprise – the UK is the most expensive place to be – again. According to new research by Ofcom, the communications industry regulator, the UK was the most expensive county for high-speed broadband for the month of April 2004 when compared to France, Germany, Sweden and the USA.
This is despite the fact that prices for high-speed broadband in the UK actually fell by 36% from August 2003 (when predecessor Oftel last researched the market using identical benchmarks) to April 2004.
The findings will concern businesses that have invested heavily in consumer-oriented web services, as well as government officials who are attempting to increase Internet use in the UK. After taking an early lead, UK Internet penetration has slowed compared to other major European nations.
A small consolation for consumers is that the UK is the cheapest country for basic Internet services, reflecting the greater availability of unmetered services in the UK compared to the rest of Europe.
Ofcom also carried out additional analysis to compare prices in Japan and Korea, and found that broadband pricing in the UK is higher than in both those countries. UK customers also suffer from considerably less bandwidth availability than users in Korea, but the difference between the UK and Japan is not as stark.
The study provides additional insight into how business broadband pricing has been continually falling, except in Sweden where prices have remained consistently low over the benchmark period. For business applications, the UK remains relatively cheap.