Digital Divide: Mapping the geodemographics of internet accessibility across Great Britain

08/03/2021
by   Claire Powell, et al.
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Aim: This research proposes the first solely sociodemographic measure of digital accessibility for Great Britain. Digital inaccessibility affects circa 10 million people who are unable to access or make full use of the internet, particularly impacting the disadvantaged in society. Method: A geodemographic classification is developed, analysing literature-guided sociodemographic variables at the district level. Analysis: Resultant clusters are analysed against their sociodemographic variables and spatial extent. Findings suggest three at-risk clusters exist, "Metropolitan Minority Struggle", "Indian Metropolitan Living" and "Pakistani-Bangladeshi Inequality". These are validated through nationwide Ofcom telecommunications performance data and specific case studies using Office for National Statistics internet usage data. Conclusion: Using solely contemporary and open-source sociodemographic variables, this paper enhances previous digital accessibility research. The identification of digitally inaccessible areas allows focussed local and national government resource and policy targeting, particularly important as a key data source and methodology post-2021, following the expected final nationwide census.

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