Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Rural Areas Still Too Remote for Access

According to recent news reports, rural areas in Britain could be set for cheaper broadband services after the communications regulator Ofcom proposed significant reductions to prices BT can charge Internet Service Providers.

Seemingly, this is a great initiative, by providing more competition customers are being given more options to choose from. However, a lot of rural areas are still not equipped with the suitable infrastructure to receive the broadband services available. Therefore cheaper pr ices are irrelevant as rural customers are unable to subscribe to these services.

Secondly, citizens in the rural areas may not see the potential for broadband. I am aware that the digital champion is trying very hard with the Race Online 2012 pledge, but there may still be some older people who due to age-related disabilities cannot use the internet and do not see the need for it. Also, some of the lower-income families may not see broadband as an essential monthly utility.

Rural areas also have a meeting place, such as the pub for social interaction and obtaining more news, so in this case, where will the internet fit into their lifestyles?

Headline-grabbing schemes may seem like a great idea initially, but lacking the correct infrastructure to support them and without educating the people who are being targeted, theses ideas are just lost in cyberspace.

Dr Jyoti Choudrie specialises in strategies for diffusing new technologies and stakeholder theory.

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