Superfast Broadband Bypassing Deprived Areas

According to an Ofcom report, many cities in the UK are missing out on superfast broadband.

The report suggested some operators may be seeking to maximize their revenue by targeting wealthier areas.

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the state of rural broadband projects and the difficulties that surround them; however, Ofcom found that after researching superfast coverage and take up speed in 11 urban areas, many cities were attaining speeds of 2MB and below.

The report paid particular attention to deprived regions in six cities - Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Manchester - and found that there was a clear correlation between areas of greatest deprivation and slowest speeds.

Ofcom said the findings may be partly due to people in such locations being unable to afford superfast connections and suggested that operators were rolling out next-generation solutions to higher income areas, in order to maximise their revenue potential.

The report also suggested other factors that might be affecting take up in poorer areas could be down to legacy infrastructure constraints, dense, multiple occupancy dwellings and a general lack of awareness of superfast broadband in some communities.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director said: "Access to fast broadband is an important part of modern life and a source of economic growth and investment across the UK.

"We know from previous research that rural areas often lack fast broadband coverage, something the government is helping to address with public funding. [But] today's findings suggest that the usage and availability of faster broadband also varies widely between cities."

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