Wi-Fi blossoms as teens desert TV for web

30 Nov 2006

Despite Ireland’s ongoing broadband woes, the country surprisingly has the largest number of Wi-Fi hotspots per head of population (18.3 per 100,000 people) followed by the UK (at 17.6), according to a global study by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Germany has 10.5 Wi-Fi hotspots per 100,000 people, followed by 8.8 in the US and 5.3 in Japan.

In every country surveyed by Ofcom broadband usage appears linked to a decline in conventional TV viewing.

On average, around a third of consumers with broadband access say they watch less TV since going online. Conversely, internet access appears to have a positive effect on radio listening, offsetting a decline in hours spent listening to conventional broadcast radio.

China leads the world in viewing music videos and TV over broadband, with 76pc of Chinese broadband users downloading or watching streamed video clips, and 70pc watch TV over broadband.

Among 18-24-year old broadband users, the UK is second only to China in its enthusiasm for online video with 77pc of 18-24-year olds watching music videos online and 60pc watch TV via broadband connections.

The UK leads the world in the take-up of digital TV, with around 70pc of UK households watching digital TV on at least one set, compared with 54pc in the US.

Italy has the highest mobile phone penetration. There are more than 12 active mobile phone subscriptions for every 10 people in the population as a whole, amounting to 123pc penetration. On the last count Ireland had 102pc mobile penetration. In the UK mobile penetration is 108pc.

The UK and the US have the most competitive mobile phone markets with the largest number of competing providers.

Ongoing consolidation in the UK communications sector has led to an increase in the number of consumers taking double- or triple-play products from the same company.

As of September, at least 35pc of UK households were taking at least two services from a single provider, up from 29pc in March.

“Rapidly converging technologies and intense competition between providers are transforming the global communications sector,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.

By John Kennedy