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Majority of UK Deems Broadband Essential for Everyone

Posted: 03rd Jun, 2009 By: MarkJ
The latest Communications Consumer Panel (CCP) survey of 2,000 adults has shown that 84% of people agreed that it should be possible for everyone in the UK to have broadband at home, regardless of where they live. Nearly three-quarters of people with broadband at home say that they couldn’t live without it.
Consumers questioned in the survey said that:

• It should be possible to have broadband at home, regardless of where people live (84% agree, 46% agree strongly).

• It is everyone's right to be able to have broadband at home (81% agree, 42% agree strongly).

• It should be possible also for people to gain the confidence and skills to make full use of broadband at home (80% agree, 32% agree strongly).

• It should be possible to access broadband at home, even if they have a low income (73% agree, 32% agree strongly).
Communications Consumer Panel Chair Anna Bradley explains: “The tipping point will be when broadband does not just provide an advantage to people who have it, but disadvantages people who do not. Interestingly some people already feel disadvantaged: those who live in not-spots and those who have school-age children but do not have broadband at home.

Our research provides clear support for the Government’s proposed universal broadband commitment,” Anna Bradley says. “But Government must make it clear what services and activities people will and will not be able to carry out with a download speed of 2Mb/s – and will need to keep this under review so that it does not become outmoded.

The report also identifies which services consumers use the Internet for. Nine out of ten online users say that they use it for finding information, more than three-quarters use it for communications, 71% use it for transaction such as online banking and more than half 55% use it for newer entertainment services such as downloading TV content.

Older people and those on lower incomes without broadband seem to take a slightly different view of the technology, placing a lower value on having it in the home and its potential benefits. Cost and confusion (lack of knowledge) seem to be two of the barriers. Of those questioned, 20% say that it would be ‘nice to have’, compared to the 42% who regard it as an ‘essential’.

The government must also make sure that its 2Mbps USO pledge for 2012 doesn't just concentrate on speed. It needs to select truly affordable and flexible services that support modern and growing forms of online content (video etc.). The service must also be able to support all of the usual online applications, such as VoIP.

Rural residents should not be short-changed, otherwise all the effort will be for nothing and already risks becoming outdated faster than it can be deployed.
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