Three-quarters of Brits use the internet every day. However, 17% of homes still aren’t connected at all. And one problem is that the divide between urban and rural broadband speeds is widening…
Ofcom recently reported that the average broadband speed increased by 64% between May 2012 and 2013, and yet the average speed between urban and rural broadband has widened.
There are also a substantial amount of people who remain disconnected.
According to the Office of National Statistics, four million British homes still aren’t connected to the net.
Just not interested in the internet?
As it gets easier and more secure to use the internet for routine tasks, I’m surprised to see that the majority (59%) of those four million Brits say that they just don’t see the need to get online. Will the government’s plans to educate people on the benefits of the internet improve this?
The good news is that speeds are up according to Ofcom, which is partly due to more households using a fibre optic or cable connection (up 12%). In May 2013 the average UK speed was 14.7Mbit/s – 64% faster than at the same point in 2012.
However, the availability of superfast connections remains limited in rural areas and this looks to be accentuating the rural divide.
The rural divide has widened
The gap between average broadband speeds in rural and urban areas has almost doubled over the last year – from 9.5Mbit/s to 16.5Mbit/s.
And it isn’t just the lack of fibre optic or cable that’s slowing our countryside down – your good old ADSL connections are also slower. This is because the nearest telephone exchange is often further away from homes in rural areas compared to people who live in cities. However, it is worth noting that average rural speeds, which now sit at 9.9Mbit/s, are increasing at a faster rate than urban speeds.
Do we really need superfast speeds?
The government has plans to improve broadband in rural areas, with the goal of giving 95% of UK households access to superfast speeds by 2017, with a minimum service of 2Mbit/s available to all.
The question is whether internet providers will continue to concentrate on speed rather than coverage. Will faster internet get more people online? Do we all need to be using (and paying for!) superfast connections? Surely what most internet users want is a reliable connection, offering a decent speed and at a fair price?
Do you suffer from super-slow download speeds? Are you tempted by superfast broadband?