Feeds

Rural areas face widening BB digital divide

Have nots face being left behind

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The lack of broadband in rural areas is creating a digital divide between town and country, according to a new report out today.

Overall, two thirds of the UK population has access to affordable broadband services. But the Countryside Agency's fifth annual State of the Countryside report found that this drops to a quarter in market towns, 7 per cent in rural villages and just 1 per cent in remote rural areas.

As a result the head of the Country Agency, Sir Ewen Cameron, warned that the digital divide is widening and called on the Government to set a realistic target for rolling out broadband to the UK's rural population.

In a statement he said: "Our countryside is a hive of economic activity...but our report shows that the restricted access to broadband is putting rural businesses and residents at a disadvantage.

"In particular, young people living in remoter areas need the same access to the latest entertainment, education and training, delivered through broadband, if they are not to feel disadvantaged compared to their urban counterparts."

In a Commons debate on broadband last week e-minister Stephen Timms said there was a "a powerful case for the importance of broadband in rural areas".

The Government is engaged in several initiatives including the creation of a rural broadband team in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to address the issue, he said.

But when quizzed about whether broadband should be made available to anyone who wants it as part of a universal service obligation, Mr Timms replied: "We have considered that, although it is not yet justified." ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.