This fact sheet summarises the information, communications and technology (ICT) infrastructure in the UK.
ICT INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE UK
This information sheet summarises the information, communications and
technology (ICT) infrastructure in the UK.
The topics covered are:
2. The UK ICT infrastructure
3. International ICT costs
4. Choosing an ICT service provider
5. Regulation of the UK ICT industry
6. Further information
The overall quality and reliability of the ICT infrastructure is a critical location
factor for businesses across all sectors. The UK has one of the strongest ICT
infrastructures in the world, with privatisation of the major ICT service
providers having led to greater competition and lower prices.
Figure 1 confirms that the UK has a stronger ICT infrastructure than other
major European economies including Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Figure 1: Network Readiness Index*
Hong Kong 8
Czech Republic 36
Source: World Economic Forum, ?Global Information Technology Report?,
*Global index benchmarking key ICT infrastructure factors
Within Europe, London is rated by businesses as being the best location for
telecommunications (Source: ?European Cities Monitor?, Cushman & Wakefield,
2. THE UK ICT INFRASTRUCTURE
The UK ICT infrastructure meets the key requirements of international
a) a strong e-business environment,
b) the wide availability of broadband,
c) the wide availability of Wi-Fi, and
d) the provision of secure servers.
a) A strong e-business environment
According to the ?e-readiness? rankings produced by the Economist
Intelligence Unit, the UK is ranked as one of the world?s leading
locations for its e-business environment (see Figure 2), and ahead of all
major European economies including Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
The rankings measure economic, technological, political, infrastructural
and social factors related to the development of e-business.
Figure 2: E-readiness rankings
Country Global Score
rank (out of 10)
Denmark 1 8.87
Sweden 2 8.67
Netherlands 3 8.64
Norway 4 8.62
US 5 8.60
UK 13 8.14
France 15 7.89
Germany 17 7.85
Ireland 18 7.84
Japan 22 7.69
Spain 25 7.24
Italy 26 7.09
Czech Republic 31 6.46
Hungary 35 6.04
China 56 4.33
India 58 4.17
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009
b) Wide availability of broadband
The penetration rate of broadband technology in the UK reached 30.2%
in the third quarter of 2009, significantly higher than the European
Union average of 24.7% (see Figure 3), with the total number of
broadband subscribers in the UK reaching 18.2 million.
Figure 3: Broadband penetration in selected European countries
rate per capita
European Union 24.7%
Source: European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA),
c) Wide availability of Wi-Fi
The UK has the highest number of verified public Wi-Fi hotspots in
Europe and the third highest globally behind only the US and China (see
Figure 4: Leading Wi-Fi locations, 2009
Rank Country Wi-Fi Hotspots,
1 US 72,419
2 China 36,592
3 UK 28,187
4 France 26,603
5 Germany 14,841
6 Russian Federation 14,707
7 South Korea 12,817
8 Japan 12,101
9 Sweden 7,226
10 Switzerland 5,542
Source: Wi-Fi Alliance, 2010
At a city level, London has one of the highest numbers of Wi-Fi hotspots
globally with over 4,000 (Source: Wi-Fi Alliance, 2010), whilst several
UK cities are currently implementing Wi-Max technologies to further
enhance wireless connectivity.
d) Provision of secure servers
The UK has the highest number of secure servers in Europe and the
third highest globally behind only the US and Japan (Source: OECD
Communications Outlook, 2009).
3. INTERNATIONAL ICT COSTS
ICT costs in the UK are highly competitive, with companies able to select from
a range of providers and tariffs to suit their specific requirements.
For indicative purposes only, Figures 5 shows the average costs in key
European locations of a ten minute national call.
Figure 5: Average cost of 10 minute national telephone call
Country Cost (?)*
European Union average 0.67
Source: Eurostat, 2010
Broadband costs are highly competitive in the UK and amongst the lowest in
the European Union, as detailed in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Average monthly broadband cost (per advertised Mbits/s)
Country Cost (US$)
Source: OECD, 2009
4. CHOOSING AN ICT SERVICE PROVIDER
There is a wide range of registered telecommunications and internet service
providers in the UK. For further information and details of specific service
providers, please see:
? Fixed line telephone services:
? Mobile telephone services:
? Broadband/ADSL services:
5. REGULATION OF THE UK ICT INDUSTRY
Ofcom is the independent organisation that regulates the UK communications
industries, with responsibilities across telecommunications, wireless
communications services, television and radio. For further information, please
6. FURTHER INFORMATION
This information sheet was updated in March 2010.
As information changes from time to time, please contact the organisations
listed or UK Trade & Investment to confirm any item that you intend to rely on.
This information sheet was produced by the Marketing Group of:
UK Trade & Investment
66-74 Victoria Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 7215 4957