Broadband an essential of the future

04 June 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
Broadband is to be a necessity of the future, research conducted by The Communications Consumer Panel (CCP) has revealed.

The study of more than 2,000 adults found that almost three quarters of people with broadband at home say they could not live without it, while others believe it will soon be essential for everyone.

The report, Not online, not included: consumers say broadband essential for all is key research for the Government's Digital Britain report due later this month, which is expected to announce plans for broadband for all.

The study by the CCP also found that 84 per cent of people agree that it should be possible for everyone in the UK to have broadband at home, regardless of where they live.

Commenting, Communications Consumer Panel chairman Anna Bradley said: "The tipping point will be when broadband does not just provide an advantage to people who have it, but disadvantages people who do not. Interestingly some people already feel disadvantaged: those who live in not-spots and those who have school-age children but do not have broadband at home."

The speed the Government's Digital Britain report is expected to announce will be made available to all is 2Mbps, which could prohibit the use of some online applications. Ms Bradley added:

"Government must make it clear what services and activities people will and will not be able to carry out with a download speed of 2Mbps – and will need to keep this under review so that it does not become outmoded."

In addition, the research raised concerns over a potential future of more services and information being made solely available online, as 90 per cent of internet users said they use the net to find information.

"There is an expectation in our research that in the future more services will be delivered solely online or provided offline in a way that penalises people who access them in this way, and that not having broadband at home will mean reduced options, opportunities and financial penalties," said Anna Bradley.

"These findings make it even more vital for the Government and industry to help consumers to get online and reap the benefits," she added.

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