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Two-Speed Britain: Rural Internet Use

60 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2015 Last revised: 5 Dec 2015

John Farrington

University of Aberdeen

Lorna Philip

University of Aberdeen

C. Cottrill

University of Aberdeen - Geography and Environment

Pamela Abbott

University of Aberdeen - School of Social Science

Grant Blank

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

William H. Dutton

Michigan State University - Quello Center

Date Written: August 17, 2015

Abstract

By using detailed data on Internet access and use in rural and urban areas of Britain, we show the effect of low-speed broadband connection on people’s use of the Internet and the services it provides. We use a three-fold definition of deep rural, shallow rural, and urban areas to explore the nature of the digital divides between these areas, and the consequences for people’s relation with the Internet. We find that while overall access to the Internet varies little geographically, though with very different connection speeds, there are consistent differences in urban versus deep rural Internet use that provide evidence not only of an urban-rural digital divide, but also ways in which this divide is manifested. In particular, through this analysis, we have discovered that the ‘urban-rural divide’ is generally manifested between ‘deep rural’ Internet use on the one hand and ‘shallow rural and urban’ Internet use on the other hand. The existence of this divide - a two-speed Britain - means that over 1 million people in Britain are potentially excluded from, or at best find it challenging to participate in, what is generally regarded as ‘normal’ online social, commercial, creative and civic life, because they live in deep rural areas of the Britain.

Suggested Citation

Farrington, John and Philip, Lorna and Cottrill, C. and Abbott, Pamela and Blank, Grant and Dutton, William H., Two-Speed Britain: Rural Internet Use (August 17, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2645771 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2645771

John Farrington (Contact Author)

University of Aberdeen ( email )

United Kingdom

Lorna Philip

University of Aberdeen ( email )

Aberdeen
United Kingdom

C. Cottrill

University of Aberdeen - Geography and Environment ( email )

Dunbar Street
Aberdeen AB24 3QY, Scotland AB24 3QY
United Kingdom

Pamela Abbott

University of Aberdeen - School of Social Science ( email )

Aberdeen, Scotland
United Kingdom

Grant Blank

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

William H. Dutton

Michigan State University - Quello Center ( email )

406 Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States

HOME PAGE: http://quello.msu.edu

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