The Advisory Committee for Scotland (ACS) discusses a wide range of questions each year as part of its regular advice to Ofcom.

When Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report (CMR) on Scotland is being compiled, we always comment on the findings before they become public. Now that the CMR for Scotland been published, it’s worth highlighting a few key issues.


Local issues brought into sharp focus
UK and Ireland map

So Scotland has fewer people and more countryside than the rest of the UK? Surely all that means is that new communications technologies will be rolled out rather more slowly in Scotland.

Is there anything else we need to know about Scotland and its population distribution, in order to understand where the communications markets may fail to provide? We all know Scotland has a lot more rural areas than England, England has ten times the population, but less than twice the area of Scotland.

Population density means some areas will never be commercially viable for operators
fibre optics


UK consumers are achieving average residential broadband speeds of 9.0Mbit/s, driven by the move to new ‘superfast’ services, Ofcom research reveals.

Ofcom’s latest research into fixed-line residential broadband speeds shows that, in May 2012, the average actual UK speed was 9.0Mbit/s, which is 2½ times faster than the average speed of 3.6Mbit/s recorded in November 2008 when Ofcom first began its speeds research.

Giant's Causeway


Northern Ireland has the highest availability of superfast broadband in the UK. These services are available to around 94% of premises compared to 60% for the UK as a whole.

The startling figures are contained in Ofcom's 2012 Communications Market Report for Northern Ireland.

The report also reveals that consumers in Northern Ireland are also becoming increasingly technology savvy.

Brits love to txt


Text-based communications are surpassing traditional phone calls or meeting face to face as the most frequent ways of keeping in touch for UK adults.

The findings were revealed when adults were asked what methods they used at least once a day to communicate with friends and family.

The average UK consumer now sends 50 texts per week – which has more than doubled in four years – with over 150 billion text messages sent in 2011.

Martha Lane Fox

It is good to learn of the new brief for Martha Lane Fox in launching the ‘Go On UK’ campaign, which is focusing attention on encouraging small companies and charities to utilize the Internet. The Advisory Committee for England has been supporting a greater focus on small and medium sized companies across the nations and regions of the UK, arguing that this is one of the most effective ways to support the vitality of the economy.

Internet a missed opportunity for many businesses and charities
Generic bubbles

There have been been significant changes to administrative structures relevant to Ofcom over the years, such as the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – of which there are over 60 - as a replacement for the nine Regional Development Agencies, which means that it is no longer possible to frame interaction with Ofcom on a regional/local basis as we once did within Advisory Committee for England (ACE).

What are the Key Issues for the Advisory Committee for England?
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