Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 12:40 UK

Communication nation - facts and figures

Talking, texting, listening, watching and browsing - British people are doing it more but spending less to do so, says Ofcom's report into the technologies that keep us communicating.

Here BBC News gives a snapshot of what we are doing with communications services and how long we do it for.

Graph showing household spend on communications services between 2002and 2007

The average British household now spends 93.63 a month on their communication services - a fall in real spending for the fifth year in a row. The reduction was largely due to cuts in the cost of telecommunications services as competition bites.

The fall happened, said Ofcom, despite the fact that Britons are using more services for longer than ever before.


Over the years of the study the time Britons spend using some communications and services has grown enormously. In particular web and mobile use has boomed in the last five years.

In 2002 the average Briton used the net for six minutes a day. Now that has hit 24 minutes. Mobile use has doubled from five to 10 minutes per day.

By contrast the use of older technologies has held steady or declined.

Graph showiing time spent using communications services


Broadband and internet penetration, Ofcom
The average Briton is not only using the net more they are going online faster than they used to. In 2002 barely 4% of households had broadband but five years later the figure stands at 58%. By comparison only 67% of all households have net access.

Average headline broadband speeds rose from 3.6 Megabits per second (Mbps) in December 2006 to 5.9Mbps at the end of March 2008, said Ofcom

The communications watchdog noted that although people aged 18-34 account for only 23% of the population they soak up 36% of all net use.

As might be expected PC use has risen in line with greater net use. Ofcom estimates that in 2008 72% of UK homes have a computer and 67% of them are using it to go online.

Despite the rising popularity of broadband, Ofcom estimates that 2.5 million homes use dial-up to get at the net.

Graph showing the rise in household PC and net penetration


The British love affair with the mobile phone has long been documented. In 2007 Ofcom said there were 122.6 mobiles for every 100 people in the UK.

It estimates that 99 billion minutes of outbound mobile calls were made in 2007.

But despite this, and figures which show 70% of mobile users make calls with their handset at home, fixed line telephony has not wilted under the competition.

By contrast 66% of outbound calls were from fixed lines and 88% of homes had a fixed line.

The number of mobile only homes has stayed steady, 10%, in the past three years and is well below many other European nations.

Graph showing fixed and mobie pentration in UK homes, Ofcom

Graph showing outbound text message volumes, Ofcom

Text messages are still proving hugely popular with owners of mobiles. Figures show texting is far more popular in the UK than almost any other European nation.

French mobile users send 20.4 messages a month and Germans average 22.8. British people, by contrast, send a whopping 67.

Ofcom said this continuing popularity is a result of the technology being easy to use and being available on every handset and network. Other communications technologies struggle to match it, said Ofcom.

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