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UK Broadband Penetration Highest in Rural Areas, Reports Ofcom

Date: 5/27/2008 6:26:47 PM

For the first time ever, households in rural Britain are more likely to have broadband than their urban and suburban counterparts, according to new stats from Ofcom, the country’s telecom regulator.

59% of rural homes now have high-speed internet access, compared to 57% of urbanites. This is a very different situation from four years ago, when urban Britons were twice as likely to have broadband.

“Our report highlights a closing of the geographical digital divide in the UK,” commented Ofcom CEO, Ed Richards.

Among major population centers, Sunderland is currently the UK’s most connected city, with a 66% broadband penetration rate. Glasgow, Scotland came at the bottom of the list with high-speed internet access in only 32% of homes. Other parts of Scotland were well connected with 62% penetration in the primarily rural Highlands and Islands, and above average penetration rates in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Dundee.

The Ofcom report has already drawn criticism, however, with many observers complaining that it doesn’t take connection speed into account. “High-speed” internet connections still tend to be much slower in the countryside than in cities and towns, the critics contend.

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