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Ofcom report: Scotland's broadband take-up numbers flatline - from The Drum

Rédigé le Jeudi 4 Août 2011 à 01:02 | Lu 216 commentaire(s)

In releasing its annual ‘Communications Market Report’, Ofcom Scotland has discovered that broadband take-up has ‘flat lined’ as it continues to lag begin the rest of the UK. The figure is particularly low in Glasgow, which has the lowest broadband take-up figure in the UK, with just 50%, with only (34%) of over-55’s being connected in the city also. The figure for Glasgow is thought to be, in part, due to the ‘high proportion’ of low income homes that make less than £17,500 a year. The Scottish Government is currently working towards targets set out this year which will see next generation broadband available throughout the country by 2020, having announced funding of £1.5m for the next financial year to improve take-up and use of broadband. A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Ensuring access for all parts of Scotland to next generation high-speed broadband by 2020 is a key priority for the Scottish Government. “That is why we are working with key partners to develop a strategic national blueprint for broadband that will deliver a world-class broadband infrastructure, improving access for businesses and communities across the country. We are also widening access to services online and encouraging increased digital participation. “Ensuring Scotland has access to a fit-for-purpose, twenty-first century communications network is essential to connect it to the world, bringing benefits to Scotland’s economy and communities.” Asked whether she felt the Scottish Government would be successful in achieving its target, Vickie Nash, director of Ofcom Scotland, described the targets as ‘challenging’ but said that it was responding to factors which it had found to be deterring broadband take-up. “They’re reaching out to people, and it’s something that Martha Lane Fox has been championing and getting the nine million that have no experience of the internet,” explained Nash. “They have been suggesting the idea of digital champions – people working within communities, often very small communities, to give them experience to get them over their fear or skills gap which is preventing them from going online in the first place. If you personalise that experience then it makes it more likely that people will sign up for it. They are also looking at previously used equipment, so recycling old PCs or old laptops, obviously cleansing them of any data that wouldn’t be appropriate and then giving them to people to go online. Having that very close relationship is something that has shown to be effective.” The report also found that broadband uptake in Scotland saw an 85% take-up in broadband in Scotland by 35-55 year olds compared to the UK average of 83% while one in 10 household now had access to a laptop or PC with a broadband dongle. Mobile coverage across Scotland has also increase, with 3G coverage found to be higher in Scotland than in Wales or Northern Ireland with 84% receiving coverage by at least one operators, while a fifth of adults in Scotland who owned a mobile phone, now own a smartphone. This was however below the UK average of 30%. Investment in Scottish television programmes was also found to have increased in the last year, following STV’s strategy of ‘opting out’ of the ITV network of programming, with 4.6% of UK expenditure, rising from 3.6% in 2009, to 4.6%. Public Service Broadcasting spend on national and regional TV programming for viewers in Scotland also grew by 1% to reach £52m. The report also found a 6% increase in the take-up of digital television to 97% of TV homes in Scotland, as a result of the recent digital switchover process which was underway during the undertaking of the research. Findings from the UK report by Ofcom, which has found a huge growth in mobile phone usage by UK adults and teens can be viewed here. The lastest Rajar figures have also revealed a rise in radio listening through mobile phones as well.

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