ACCESS DENIED: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF INADEQUATE BROADBAND ACCESS IN RURAL BRITAIN

Anne-Marie Oostveen, Bianca Reisdorf, Kathryn Eccles

Abstract


Adequate broadband access is necessary for business development & efficiency, social support, delivery of health and government services, leisure, consumption, employment, and educational services (Townsend et al., 2013). Although broadband is available to nearly all UK homes and commercial properties, there is a considerable disparity in the quality of access across the UK. Variations are most evident between urban and rural areas: the more remote and sparsely populated a location, the more likely it is to experience slow connectivity.

On the basis of a range of qualitative methods, our study will explore how the boundary of very limited broadband speed affects the daily lives of rural Internet users. We will investigate how people work around the constraints and whether they opt for alternative technologies to get online. Due to a counter-urbanization process (wealthier people move to the countryside in pursuit of a higher quality of life) there are rather mixed populations in rural areas, which can be both relatively rich and relatively poor.


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