North falling behind south in broadband penetration

Broadband divide

A broadband divide between the North and South has been revealed in research results released today.

Research firm Point Topic has shown that 68 cities, towns and districts have high broadband penetration but only three on these are above the line drawn from the Wash to the Bristol Channel.

It also showed that of the 60 places with low penetration, only six were south of that line.

The South East, South West, East of England and London regions have 32.9 broadband lines for every 100 residents but the other eight north and west regions have only 26.1.

In the report, Point Topic said: "The picture supports the view of Britain as divided between the world metropolis of London, whose tentacles spread widely across the south of England, and a 'provincial archipelago' of smaller centres struggling to survive against the competition of the giant to the south."

Many of the areas that suffer from low penetration are very rural with low populations and often far away from their nearest exchange.

However, there is some positivity north of the border as Scotland has more exchanges per head compared to England, with many of them designed to serve smaller communities.

The report said: "Much of the credit must go to the Scottish Government which has spent millions to ensure that broadband is available from all the country's exchanges."

Overall, it is not all doom and gloom as 74 per cent of the population live in areas considered to have medium penetration and only 8.8 per cent are in areas where penetration is considered low or very low.

There is clearly still a challenge to be faced to provide everybody with decent broadband levels, as promised in the Digital Britain report earlier this year.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.