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Broadband deprivation in England

The UK in June 2015 had 24.3 million fixed line broadband subscribers, an 81.9 per cent premises penetration, in residential and business sites, reports Point Topic.  37.9 per cent of the lines were ‘superfast’, capable of over 30Mbps downstream.

Coverage of some level of broadband service is complete for the UK when including all access options.

“Despite the good news there is a persistent and in some senses deepening broadband and digital divide in England,” says Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic

The latest edition of the Index of Multiple Deprivation for England was published late last year.  This update, nominally to 2015, contains a number of datasets that Point Topic uses to model the non-adoption of broadband. Using the updated IMD and broadband take-up and availability data from their own research to June 2015 has enabled an update of the Digital Deprivation Index (DDI) for England originally published in 2013.

Local Authorities most at risk (on average) from broadband non-adoption

Local Authorities will be increasingly on the front line when it comes to broadband and on-line services in their populations.  The USO will doubtless add to the LA’s burden in administrative and expenditure terms.

Point Topic has used the same components as the first version to allow a level of comparison although the IMD explicitly warns that outputs of direct time comparison and/or attempts to compare within the datasets even with the same field titles should be treated with care.  There have been updates to the way most of these ratings are produced and direct (precisely quantifiable) comparison is not possible for most of the inputs.

Point Topic DDI – England by LA 2015.

Income in particular continues to be the primary predictor of overall adoption and hence cost imposes a relatively low ceiling on addressable audience for the premium products (high bandwidth, lots of add ons) compared to our previous models.

This pattern is seen in the US at the moment as well will the Pew Internet Survey revealing a drop in fixed line household penetration and laying the blame squarely at the door of cost and poor rural supply.  There is some analysis of US and global adoption here.

“Forcing poorer populations onto relatively expensive, data limited broadband services will only entrench and extend existing divides. We know what inhibits broadband adoption and where. We can hopefully move on to the next stage of broadband delivery for the UK and perhaps even extend our lead over our European partners,” concludes Johnson


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