Is it possible that there could be digital exclusion in the UK? We are becoming more and more reliant upon internet access for a variety of different activities. Only a few years ago you could complete these activities without the internet. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and as technology advances, we as a nation need access to the internet.
I used to work at a supermarket in the online shopping department and handled the ‘click & collect‘ orders. When I began working there at the end of 2018 a printed receipt would be handed to the customer. Only a few months later into 2019, the printed receipt was scrapped, and an online receipt was sent via email.
In particular at this time of a national lockdown and a long period of time thus far of government restrictions on social interaction and leisure, we rely on the internet. We need it to stay in contact with our friends and family now more than ever as there is simply nothing else we can do. I think I would be a bit lost during lockdown if it wasn’t for streaming services and social media!
Have you ever been on holiday with a teenager to the countryside? Or even gone somewhere with limited internet access? If you have, I’m sure you heard the constant complaining of “There’s no Wi-Fi, I’m bored!” or “There’s no 4G here!” It is clear that wherever you are in the UK access to the online world of social media or even to complete basic tasks online, there is a need for equal Wi-Fi access.
According to the tech partnership (http://heatmap.thetechpartnership.com/) the data shows that 5% of the UK has no access to broadband over 10MBPS. England averages 3%, Scotland averages 7%, and Wales averages 6%. Meanwhile 24% of the UK has no access to 4G with 13% of England averages, 25% of Scotland averages and 36% of Wales averages. As a result, this means that the likelihood of digital exclusion for the UK is 15% with over a fifth of Wales falling into that category.
Digital exclusion is much more likely than you might expect. Perhaps this information suggests that it is necessary to broaden and deepen the availability of the internet to avoid this digital exclusion. Does your landlord provide Wi-Fi friendly accommodation? Click here!
By Jason Mitchell
Marketing Assistant – Supported Housing Specialist