Ofcom are monitoring broadband performance in rural areas and are looking to enlist rural-based panellists to help inform its research

Ofcom monitoring broadband connectivity in rural areas

Photo via James Burke/Flickr

UK Telecoms regulator, Ofcom, measures UK fixed-line broadband performance biannually. Working in partnership with SamKnows, who have provided the technical platform for this performance measuring since 2008, Ofcom are now looking to enlist the help of rural people to join its research panel.

Average broadband speeds across the UK have improved dramatically since the first study, but Ofcom would like to find out more about the rural broadband experience.

One of Ofcom’s roles is to ensure the UK has the communications infrastructure it requires and with businesses and consumers driving an ever-increasing demand for communications, the infrastructure that serves them must keep pace with these needs. Making services available where people live and work, ensuring clear call connections and delivering sufficiently fast download and uploading data speeds are all important considerations.

Ofcom provides the information businesses and consumers need to make informed decisions about the services that can serve them best. This is set out annually in the Connected Nations Report (previously called the Infrastructure Report), which charts the UK’s evolving communications infrastructure. The report also sets out Ofcom’s progress towards becoming a connected nation.

To inform this and wider work, Ofcom have called for volunteers to sign up to join its expanded research panel of broadband customers. In particular, the regulator is looking for people who live in rural areas, to find out about the challenges they face in terms of connectivity.

Anyone who thinks they are eligible and who would like to participate can visit partner website SamKnows in order to sign up. Those meeting the criteria will be sent a purpose-built broadband measurement unit, known as a SamKnows Whitebox. This easy to install device plugs in to an existing modem/router. The Whitebox will not interfere with the broadband connection, nor does it monitor what the connection is used for. It operates when the connection is not in use in order to run speed tests.

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