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Sunderland: highest percentage of homes with broadband
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Sat May 24, 2008 6:17 pm Reply and quote this post
The data is published in Ofcom’s annual communications market report, whichshows figures for each city for the first time, as well as by region.
The results paint a picture of changes in how people use new technologies, inturn reflecting social patterns.
Sunderland has been building itself up as an IT hub, starting in the 1990swith the city’s telematics strategy, which ran until 2003. It set thefoundations for transforming Sunderland’s traditional industries ofshipbuilding and coalmining to technology-based companies, many of which arebased at the Rainton Bridge business park.
The city council’s digital challenge programme, launched last year, aims toget more people in the city online. All libraries offer internet access andthe council has opened so-called community “electronic village halls”, whichalso let people log on to the net.
The Ofcom report also reveals that for the first time, the proportion of homesin rural areas with broadband — 59 per cent — has outstripped that in urbanareas, which is 57 per cent.
Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: “The report highlights a closing ofthe geographic digital divide in the UK.”
There are now 14.25 million homes with broadband in the UK, out of a total of25 million households.
Of those who do not have broadband, only 1 per cent now say is it is becausethey cannot access it. The main reasons are now because people do not wantit or they cannot afford it.
Ofcom said one of the factors boosting broadband uptake in the countryside isonline shopping. Three quarters of rural internet users making onlinetransactions, compared with 69 per cent for the UK as a whole.
Dr Victoria Nash, policy and research officer at the Oxford InternetInstitute, said: “Income, age and level of education might well be a causefor the discrepancy. High levels of unemployment could also have an impactin towns such as Glasgow. Diminished local services in rural areas mightmean the online environment becomes more important.”
She said reasons for higher uptake in rural areas could also be due to morepeople working from home, driven by an increasingly green culture and therising price of petrol.
The English spend more time on the internet than anyone else in the UK, with77 per cent of their time online spent sending emails and instant messagesand visiting chatrooms. The Welsh watch more satellite television than therest of the UK with 79 per cent taking a satellite service compared with anaverage 65 per cent across the UK.
Ofcom found that take-up of digital television has reached 85 per cent ofhomes, up 10 per cent since 2006.
Meanwhile, Ofcom said yesterday that it would deregulate almost 70 per cent ofthe wholesale broadband market because there was sufficient competition inthese areas.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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