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Consumer panel sets sights on the 40% not online
Thursday 14 May 2009 00:10:38 by Andrew Ferguson

While the UK in terms of broadband coverage sits at around 99%, there are still around 40% of the population who are still not yet considered online. The Communications Consumer Panel which advises Ofcom has laid out its Work Plan for 2009/2010.

"Broadband will soon be an essential part of people's lives, but being unable to use online services will put many people at a significant disadvantage - broadband will no longer be just 'nice to have'."

Anna Bradley, Chairman, Communications Consumer Panel

The plan will focus on three main areas:

  • Universal service - influencing decisions about the services that should be available to everyone now and in the future so that they reflect the views of consumers and citizens.
  • Consumer and citizen empowerment - influencing policy interventions so that they reflect, and are designed to meet, the full spectrum of consumers' and citizens' needs.
  • Trust and security - highlighting concerns about security and misuse of personal data, and the potential for people to be deterred from going online or getting the most out of being online.

There are many barriers to online inclusion, with the availability of a broadband service being just one small part of the jigsaw. We are sure there are plenty of readers out there who have family and friends who have no desire to be online at home, but will ask for information or visit to do what little they need. Some commentators have said that broadband as a utility is a middle-class thing, which when you consider the costs of a computer, annual virus subscriptions etc will mean a fair amount of disposable income is needed on top of even a cheap broadband subscription, but conversely there are probably lots of powerful business people and politicians who simply rely on their PA to deal with all the online clutter.

This desire for digital inclusion, perhaps explains some of the emphasis on mobile broadband solutions in the Digital Britain report. The UK has some 10 million more mobile phones than people and with handsets becoming more capable plus the wide range of tariffs they are perhaps a better proposition than trying to get the whole UK using a netbook/PC/Mac.

Comments

Posted by BlackAle over 7 years ago
I guess you didn't proof read the article? 'which when you consider the costs of a computer, annual virus subscriptions etc' repeats... and really? or did you mean rely?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
I did but a slip of the paste buffer messed things up, all sorted now.
Posted by meldrew over 7 years ago
<rant> There is an internet connection in every library in the land for those who do not have it in the home. If its a cost issue then maybe drop Pay TV for Freesat. Life is all about choices and we can't all have everything. Using the word "inclusive" looks like this is another part of Labour's social engineering strategy particularly as the middle classes make it a priority. </rant>
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
Maybe all public housing and public spaces should have shared wifi access. Those 250k little used payhones could be wifi enabled.

A STB with a browser would also get people going.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
I wonder if they have ever thought maybe that 40% do NOT want the internet and maybe some of that 40% do not even want a computer...... nah who am i kidding that would mean looking beyond figures.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
@Meldrew... I think the cost thing some people use is just a poor excuse, nowadays you could in many areas have your phone and internet for the same or even less than what BT charge you monthly for Line rental.

You cant force a product on people, i imagine there are plenty of homes in the land which run on nothing but Electric while some others choose to use Electric and Gas, this is no different, some people just will never want or need the internet
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
Does this consumer panel actually communicate with those who choose not to have internet access at home. Or do they just decide that they know best anyway and dunk another biscuit in their tea?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
i communicate with all sorts, the main reason people don't want to be bothered is because of all the horror stories of crashing, unstable computers, old computers being asked to do the impossible, and crap broadband connections. This puts off the people I talk to. Half an hour with them and I can change their minds and show them how great it is. You can engage the 20% who are not too old or daft to learn by showing them a working product. Govt intervention will not bring them in.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
The best anyone can do is lobby for fibre to every home, not just for speed but for stable, reliable and always on connections that you can trust.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Also if the consumer panel are working on '99%' of the population have broadband connections then they are working on the wrong figures.Most of the rural people I meet have no adsl broadband or dodgy mobile. At a guess I would say at least 30% have a connection of less than half a meg or even zero. These figures don't show to a consumer because the modem says 100mbps or 10mbps(from the modem to the pc) LOL
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Cyber - Wasting billions is not the correct approach.

Try a "basic broadband" service like BT's basic phone one, a 256Kbps broadband service for very low cost.
Posted by XANTIA-1975 over 7 years ago
40% Not online thats probably made up of the 30,000 registered peados banned by court order going anywhare near a computer or the internet....
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
I wish these organisations would stop obsessing over those who have "chosen" not to have broadband at home.
Posted by amforbes over 7 years ago
Quit obsessing over getting everyone in the country to take up broadband and focus on improving the already existing service for users. The average speed in the uk is what 3Mbs, it's a joke most of us out in the rural areas will never even see those kinds of speeds let alone the advertised "upto 8mb".

As a country the uk is trailing behind europe and the rest of the world, with the next generation of multimedia services being launched.

Posted by amforbes over 7 years ago
For instance BBC Iplayer HD only a handful of users are able to actually use these services while the rest of us struggle to even use the regular service. I don't want to sit on the net all day and constantly download until my hard drive is full.

All I'd like is a nice fast internet service that I can download a demo on my Xbox without having to leave the thing running for hours at a time while I wait for the download to finish.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Quit obsessing over getting everyone in the country to take up broadband and focus on improving the already existing service for users. The average speed in the uk is what 3Mbs, it's a joke most of us out in the rural areas will never even see those kinds of speeds let alone the advertised "upto 8mb".
"
Very well said a close friend of mine has a relative that lives in Denmark, ive no idea what speed they had when they were there but i do know they did alot of swearing in their native tonge when they saw what we have in the UK.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
City dweller, Carpet? If you're outside the city in Denmark, forget getting more than 2MBit.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
No idea exactly where he is from, but you could be right, just like the UK out of town and city broadband speeds are slower in most euro countries, still doesnt excuse the fact many inner cities in Europe make the cities in the UK look very poor.
Posted by dragon1945 over 7 years ago
Meldrew Freesat does not give you Sky 1 and Sky 2 which are the two channels I watch most. Freeview is not available here. My Mobile phone doesn't work here. TV via aerial is cr*p, but I still have to pay a TV licence. Not living in the Outback, just 4 miles from town.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
@Dawn
no internet access at all for many in my area, and what good is quarter of a meg if the family want xbox, iplayer, homework research and egov in the evenings? replace the line with fibre and we can do it all. Won't cost billions, loads out of work and fibre is cheap,and bt have the ducts already.
Posted by amforbes over 7 years ago
What I would like to know if how the Government plan to get "At least" 2Mb internet service to those people who've been deemed "Out of reach" for even 256K broadband? Adsl has always been a distance dependent technology, I myself have a very long line and only get 1Mb a second though BT line checker states that the maximum I can get is 512K.

Why force people into taking broadband especially when the technology only works it's best when inside a city, they should concentrate on providing a better, faster service more efficient service.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
@Carpet your friend's relative in Denmark was probably swearing in jealousy, I can see 20/1 for over 40GBP/mth in Denmark via DSL and 35 quid over cable. Can't see anything over 20/1 right now apart from a small FTTP rollout at 15/15 for 60 quid a month.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"@Carpet your friend's relative in Denmark was probably swearing in jealousy, I can see 20/1 for over 40GBP/mth in Denmark via DSL and 35 quid over cable. Can't see anything over 20/1 right now apart from a small FTTP rollout at 15/15 for 60 quid a month."

No he definately was swearing about UK speeds, I remember him stuttering a little to find the words in English which came out as and i quote "Your computer... broken, it go very slow" when he has trying to load some youtube or similar clip.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
I doubt cost of a service would bother him, much like me he seems the type that wouldnt care about the price if the service was superb... Thats the trouble here in the UK too many people want everything for nothing. Which is why horrid organisations (I wont mention names) get away selling poop services here. Ill try to find out what speed he has back at home, i suspect he may be one of the lucky few with fibre given how convinced he was something was wrong.
Posted by comnut over 7 years ago
"Communications Consumer Panel which advises Ofcom" ???

If you are watching the 'reggie perrin' series, this sounds like more old men in suits, even further out of touch with reality than some BT businessmen...

read it carefully, no mention is made of *anything* like ISPs, infrastructure, etc - it is just a numbers game to make a nice presentation.... It could just as well be 'numbers of razors sold to new clients' & 'how to sell grooming products to those that do not shave'... :)

Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Cyberdoyle - If you think it won't cost billions, please provide a link to your business plan. BT say it will cost billions, and have provided such...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Cyberdoyle - If you think it won't cost billions, please provide a link to your business plan. BT say it will cost billions, and have provided such..."

Strangley they have billions for FTTC but are beehatching they aint getting enough profit from LLU.... Hmmmm yes i see now how that works, have a pile of a million ten pound notes, worried you aint making money from LLU.... Oh yes im sure they are losing money left right and centre with billions to throw about.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Carpet - You can't simply burn your cash reserve. Again, basic buainess principles 101 which puts the lie to your claims of running one.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote"Carpet - You can't simply burn your cash reserve. Again, basic buainess principles 101 which puts the lie to your claims of running one."

Oh no i run a business only unlike BT i realise if in one area you can make millions but in another area you have to subsidise with a few quid you still make a profit..... Hmmm sounds similar to what Sky, Virgin and many other comms providers do, seems im not alone in my so called misunderstanding of business 101.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
You want to talk simple business...... If any company is losing as much as BT make out you dont make plans to spend billions more, you make plans which stop the leakage of cash.
Or the short version, BT are liars!
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