The latest Ofcom research, just released, has highlighted that 1.5 million homes in the UK still do not have internet access. This is a stark reminder that the digital divide is still very much present across our nation. We now all depend on speedy and reliable broadband as a key part of our everyday lives, and its significance continues to grow, with COVID-19-related lockdowns and restrictions placing an emphasis on the internet to connect societies. And with the lines between “home” and “office” increasingly blurred due to the rise of remote working, having access to affordable connectivity is crucial so that local economies and communities can truly thrive.
In many instances enhanced broadband (up to 1 Gbps) can be delivered by either superfast fibre services or via ultra-high speed service over cable TV networks – the likes of DOCSIS 3.1 – and in some instances the next generation of 5G wireless can provide a solution. However, regardless of the delivery mechanism, it is essential that all strata of society can access the most appropriate local service, including those that may need some financial assistance in doing so.
It is critical that everyone across the country has the same access to the opportunities brought about by broadband connectivity, and closing the digital divide will be a vital step in facilitating the delivery of a wide range of services and applications to improve business efficiency and productivity – as well as enhancing everyday lives across all areas in the UK.