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Dot Rural: Interviews

With Dr Grant Blank, and Professor William H. Dutton
1 Oct 2013
With Dr Grant Blank, and Professor William H. Dutton

This series of interviews conveys the assessments by various academics and politicians of the 2013 Oxford Internet Survey results, which included an expanded chapter of analysis on rural Internet in Britain. The Oxford Internet Institute published this survey together with dot.rural, the RCUK’s Digital Economy Hub at the University of Aberdeen, and it closely examined how access to the Internet in rural areas might shape social and economic development. Interviewees generally expressed the following opinions: 1) Since results show (for the first time!) significant differences between deep rural areas and shallow rural (rural areas near urban centres)/urban areas regarding access, use, and perceptions of the Internet, UK policymakers need to understand what denizens of rural areas want and how they are going to use Internet services; 2) In addressing this issue, there are different manners of achieving higher levels of super fast broadband penetration in rural areas beyond relying on market forces e.g. subsidies, government guaranteed loans, and community initiatives; 3) For further analysis of survey results, researchers should a) use deeper analytical techniques (e.g. logit analysis, segmentation analysis) to observe how different factors such as age, education, and location would affect the adoption or non-adoption of broadband, and b) show more clearly that deep rural residents are disadvantaged due to lack of super fast broadband, as it is unclear whether the differences in usage are caused by the absence of good enough broadband or simply age-related preferences (e.g. less social media usage).