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Rural broadband divide continues to grow in UK, over one million Britons unable to access Internet

The divide between urban and rural broadband deployment continues to grow, with new research published by the Oxford Internet Institute showing a large gulf between Urban, Shallow Rural and Deep Rural.

Remote areas in upper Scotland, Wales and some rural areas in England are kept out of the Internet due to poor broadband speed and consistency.

Over half of users questioned in deep rural areas find it hard to access the Internet, compared to five per cent in urban zones. Well over a million users struggle with these issues in the UK, a rather disappointing figure considering the government’s investment into rural broadband coverage.

BT Group is in charge of the broadband deployment, which is suppose to hit 95 per cent of all homes by 2017. The government has similar initiatives to build wireless networks into rural areas across the UK in the next two years.

Not being able to access the Internet in these areas makes it hard for rural citizens to have the same commercial and social advantages as people living in urban areas. It is not an age gap either, with most rural people surveyed around the same age as urban people.

The UK has been investing heavily into broadband and wireless over the past five years, but the results seem to be lacklustre. This is in part due to BT Group and the wireless providers not being able to carry out full scale deployment, and partly because some of the remote areas in the UK are miles away from infrastructure of any kind.

Deploying broadband that far does take time and a lot of money, but the government has provided a lot of the latter. Ofcom is even stepping in to investigate the problems on BT Group’s deployment, clearly unhappy with the progress so far.