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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Insight into UK's digital habits
Family in a digital home
The survey assessed digital take-up of TV, radio and internet
Internet take-up and use is now higher in rural areas of the UK than in big cities, according to a survey of regional communication habits.

But the study reveals that rural users are often stuck with slow dial-up connections rather than the fast broadband enjoyed in urban areas.

Scotland tops the list of countries with access to broadband.

The study by communications watchdog, Ofcom, also examined differences in digital TV, radio and mobile phone use.

It found that people in the UK are now more likely to send a text than talk to a person on the phone.

Digital decisions

On average 28 texts are sent for every 20 mobile phone calls made every week.

People in Northern Ireland are the most prolific texters, thumbing on average 35 texts every week.

London is the only area to buck the trend, with people still preferring to talk than text.

Londoners also have one of the lowest take-ups of digital TV with just 58% of people from the capital using digital services, compared to 72% in Wales and the north-east of England.


Only Northern Ireland's population of texters have a lower take-up of digital television services.

Those people that have taken the plunge into digital television tend to watch on average 19 hours per week.

People in Scotland watch an extra three hours of television while those in the south-west of England watch three hours less.

Digital radio use is harder to measure but estimates suggest that 79% of the UK now owns technology, such as a PC or set-top box, that would allow them to listen.

However, fewer than half (32%) of the people surveyed said they have access to digital radio. Ofcom say this indicates a "low awareness of set top box and internet functionality".

Digital divide

On top of television and texting, people in the UK also spend about 10 hours a week on the internet although Londoners again buck the trend, spending an extra four hours glued to their computer screens.

Digital radio
Digital radio can be accessed in many different ways

This could be in part because people in cities like London enjoy access to faster internet connections that allow people to view today's more sophisticated websites.

The report highlighted the gap in broadband services available to people living in rural areas, although there is a high demand for internet access.

It states that 61% of people living in rural areas now use the internet compared to an average of 57% across the UK.

However just 55% of rural households use a broadband connection compared to 63% nationwide. The highest number of broadband users live in London, the North West and North East.

This digital divide is despite another figure from British Telecom that says that 99.9% of premises in the UK are connected to a broadband exchange.

However the report says that "local technicalities such as distance from exchange or poor quality of networks," can affect the service that users access.

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