Rural communities helped by improving internet access

Rural households are now more likely to have a broadband connection than residents of towns, says a recent Ofcom survey.

The regulator’s regional communications market report shows that 59% of rural households have broadband compared to 57% of urban homes. This is the first time that the countryside has overtaken town and cities, according to the report. Four years ago urban dwellers were twice as likely to have broadband as those living in the country. This is great news for the housing market in rural areas, as modern day jobs can be carried out at home over the Internet and so house prices will rise accordingly.

Sunderland appears to be the UK’s most connected city, with 66% of households having broadband and 96% using digital television. Glasgow has the lowest take-up of broadband in the UK at 32%. Ofcom could not explain why Sunderland was at the top of the broadband league but said Glasgow’s position probably reflected low levels of household income and computer ownership. In contrast, in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 62% of homes have broadband, and Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee are all well ahead of the UK average. There has been a major drive to bring broadband to every corner of Scotland, partly to sustain the economies of isolated communities where many residents can now work from home. This, again, will increase the popularity of settling down in a rural Scottish community and improve the house prices there. This will also boost a now dwindling rural economy and create new opportunities.

One in five UK adults has now surfed the web on the go, but usage is highest in London and Birmingham. In Devon and Cornwall and the South East, where 3G-phone coverage is relatively sparse, just 7% of people have used the mobile Internet. Large numbers in the UK are also watching TV or video online, with a national rate of 30%, but again there are big regional variations. In London, 40% have tried services like the BBC iPlayer, while the figure in Greater Manchester is just 16%.

One more fact from the thousands sprinkled across this comprehensive survey of media habits across the UK – there are now 14,000 Wikipedia articles in Welsh, more than twice as many as the number in Gaelic. This is very impressive, considering that Wales has a lower rate of broadband take-up than the rest of the UK!

This survey also highlights the use of Internet on mass in rural and semi-rural communities. This will no doubt have an impact on the place of work for many businessmen and women who carry out their work online, and could potentially lead to an increase in the property value of rural homes.

For more information have a look at the search marketing group.