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Point Topic Maps the Risk of Non-Adoption for Superfast Broadband in England

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 (9:31 am) - Score 3,290

The physical availability of a superfast broadband (25-30Mbps+) ISP network is not the only barrier to adoption and a new map of England, which was put together by telecoms analysts at Point Topic, attempts to identify where there is the highest risk of related “digital deprivation“.

According to the firm’s research, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking at a rural or urban area because the risk of Broadband Digital Deprivation (BDD) can be found everywhere and tackling it remains very difficult. But Point Topic doesn’t so much focus on the question of “Why” as to instead try and identify the issue of “Who” and “Where“.

The Broadband Digital Deprivation Index (BDDI) combines data from its existing database of Internet service coverage and speeds with information from other sources like the English Index of Multiple Deprivation and the England Census 2011. It then considers 7 factors including age, income, disability, housing, broadband availability, children and education in order to try and identify the area’s most at risk of lower take-up.

broadband digital deprivation map 2014 q1

Initially it still looks like rural areas suffer the most and in many ways they do, not least because the BDUK project has yet to help expand BT’s FTTC/P coverage into those areas but that should change over the next few years as coverage is pushed out to 95% by 2017. On the other hand it also shows that the risk in London is in places on a par with the risk in rural Cumbria.

Point Topics Statement (BDDI Report Feb 2014)

Today it’s almost as difficult to convert a household or business in Inner London into an internet user as it is in deepest Cumbria. This is a problem for national and local policy makers and regulators as well as affecting the market for broadband suppliers (ISPs). Not only do we, as a country, have a goal of getting households online but the business models of ISPs have to take account of their market and the potential for growth and regulators are tasked to ensure that policies are implemented appropriately.”

Currently Point Topic has only conducted the modelling for England but it still provides for a useful insight into an aspect of connectivity that could become more noticeable as superfast broadband coverage achieves its eventual goals. The Government’s Office for National Statistics also has some useful data on how low income and disability can affect uptake (here). Lest we not forget that there will always be those who simply don’t want to go online.

Digital Deprivation Index (England)

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar GNewton

    Well, so far the vast majority (over 85%) has not signed up for a VDSL service where available. This wouldn’t be so bad if it hadn’t been for the fact that £1.2 Billion taxpayers money has been wasted, handed over to BT via a fake BDUK process. VDSL is NOT a vital utility for most people.

  2. The directly BT connected aspect of BDUK’s project currently accounts for £530m until 2015 and then most probably another £250m until 2017. But the other funding is split among different areas (e.g. mobile, ubf etc.) and so far most of the VDSL coverage achieved has come from BT’s own commercial investment, so we will have to wait until after BDUK has completed in order to see what the situation is actually like.

    • Avatar GNewton

      A £530m pot of cash was set aside by Whitehall during this Parliament to fund the network rollout. Local authorities are expected to match that funding, with another £250m to be pumped into the project beyond 2015.

      These wasteful projects at taxpayer’s expense should be immediately stopped, BT is not a charity. Investment funding is fine when there will be a ROI, but this gap-funding gamble where most of the taxpayer money ends up with greedy BT for no ROI should be stopped, especially when the vast majority of potential users are not interested in VDSL services.

    • Avatar Gadget

      So what’s the alternative – Digital Region spend what was it £100m for 3,000 customers and whoops then are now closing down.

  3. Avatar DTMark

    While our scenario is hardly “the typical user” I’ll bet Point Topic’s analysis would exclude us. No cable, no landline, no ADSL. No interest in the internet, apparently. Maybe we’d take up VDSL if it was deployed. Gets deployed. No take up = no interest.

    Er, no. We have modestly quick broadband anyway via 4G which is probably quicker than VDSL would be.

    And although in our case we’ll pay more for the faster 4G speeds vs “fixed connections” (though I’d pay if we could get fibre – not VDSL – since that’s what would be needed for faster speeds than we have now) and can put the saving on line rental towards that, I’ll also bet a fair few of the people in the “deprived areas” have 3G plans for internet access @ 2.99 a day now and again, and no landline either.

    • Avatar Gerarda

      I think you probably are unusual in having no ADSL availability but 4G access. I suspect most notspots would be strugling with limted 3G at best

    • Avatar DTMark

      We have access to two broadband providers – Three and EE, and there’s an old phone network which at a push can just about manage some ADSL connectivity at a couple of meg downstream and maybe half of a whole meg upstream 😉

      I’m just not so sure that the questions about broadband take up, potential or actual, can be answered by analysing who has cable and/or landlines. Such analysis would show us to have no interest in the internet or voice, yet we have “superfast broadband” and video calling with Skype and these days a lot of people do most of their browsing at work or on their phones.

    • Avatar No clue

      Not to worry DTMark you still have the imaginary promise of 2Mb for all to look forward to.

  4. Avatar dragoneast

    Nothing is guaranteed. I’m located at the highest point about 200m from an EE 3G/4G mast in a well-spaced “garden village” development and have never been able to get a reliable EE mobile signal. Other people have hopeless DSL. Just perhaps, neither of us are indicative of the rest of the country?

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