Welcome to the ‘Access Denied’ project. Whether you are a rural Internet user, an Internet service provider or a policy maker, our research is aimed at you. This project examines how people living in rural areas are affected by the unavailability of (adequate) Internet connections.
The UK government defines adequate broadband as speeds of at least 2 megabits per second. Whether this is still sufficient for the use of high bandwidth applications such as video conferencing or TV streaming is debatable. Although the government has committed funding to improve broadband in rural areas, it has had to delay its initial target of universal availability of at least 2Mb/s by 2015 to the year 2017. This is problematic, as Ofcom reports that 8% of the UK population cannot currently access broadband of at least 2Mb/s.
Over the course of the coming months we will interview people living and working in rural communities (two communities in England and two in North-Wales) to gain an understanding of the problems surrounding inadequate Internet connections. We will also organise focus groups in each location with teenagers. These 4 focus groups will inform us how adolescents in rural areas cope with slower Internet speeds and whether it affects their personal lives and their schoolwork. Finally, we will talk to representatives from local broadband providers, county councils, Ofcom, BT, and other stakeholders to inform us on public policy and governmental interventions.
Are you living or working in a ‘slow spot’ and struggling with your Internet? Let us know how it affects you. Has your community found a good solution, or have you opted for an alternative technology yourself to get online? Do tell us about it!