Aberdeen has greatest take-up gap of superfast broadband in UK

Written by Jenni Davidson on 13 July 2018 in News

The Centre for Cities report sets out a number of ways that cities can promote digital uptake and improved infrastructure

Union Street, Aberdeen - Image credit: michimaya via Flickr

Aberdeen has the greatest take-up gap of superfast broadband out of any city in the UK, according to a new report on promoting digital.

According to ‘Delivering change: how cities can make the most of digital connections’, 90 per cent of homes in Aberdeen have access to superfast broadband, but only 30 per cent of households have chosen to take advantage of it – a chart-topping 60 percentage point difference.

The report, from the Centre for Cities, warns that many UK cities are not taking advantage of their digital connections and suggests they need to get ready for the rollout of 5G to avoid falling behind international counterparts.

It then sets out a series of recommendations for cities, regions and national government to promote both improvements to digital infrastructure and uptake once it’s available.

While the report only cover four of Scotland’s seven cities – Stirling, Inverness and Perth are not included – and a number of the suggestions only apply to England, some of the recommendations can be taken up north of the border.To increase uptake of broadband, the centre suggests a focus on skills and on digital exclusion are essential.

It suggests that cities can take action to speed up the rollout of digital infrastructure by making access easier to get pipes, masts and cells in place, by being a testbed or innovator and by improving market conditions and mitigating risk for companies.

The latter might include city development plans that give investors a clearer idea of the business case and location for investment, using their own procurement power to aggregate demand from businesses, leveraging existing assets that could be used for fibre and taking advantage of the convergence of broadband and mobile.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “The UK has invested significantly in becoming a global leader for digital infrastructure, but action is needed to ensure more people and businesses in cities across the country can benefit from this technology.

“Part of the problem is that cities need more powers and resources to address digital skills gaps in their communities.

“However, the onus is also on cities to learn from the innovations that some places are already pioneering, in using existing technology to transform public services.

“We also need a concerted effort from national and local leaders to ensure cities can provide the best possible built environment to deliver new digital infrastructure in the coming years, such as the rollout of full fibre and 5G.

“Other cities and countries across the world have ambitious plans to capitalise on digital technology – UK cities must do the same to compete with global counterparts as we leave the EU.”

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