Increasing Digital Inclusion and Social Connectedness

The commercial nature of the roll-out of digital connectivity has resulted in an urban bias. Government intervention has been necessary to reduce this bias and invest in rural broadband services, but we still face the issue of the most rural areas waiting for the longest for services to be provided. Some rural areas face the risk of never getting access to a service equivalent to that provided in other places.

At a focus group held by CCB in 2021 on the topic of digital inclusion, we identified three significant barriers affecting people in rural areas, and those on low incomes in particular:

  • The availability of affordable internet connections
  • The opportunity to develop skills and confidence to use online services safely
  • Access to affordable and appropriate devices

CCB is committed to supporting rural communities to address these barriers and believes that every rural community should have at least one place where local people can access high-quality internet connectivity free of charge.

We are keen to hear from people living in rural communities who share our commitment to tackling digital exclusion, particularly those involved with village halls that could become venues where advice, support, and training can be provided to local people. We are also keen to hear from other organisations that share our commitment to addressing this issue or who already deliver services that help people develop digital skills and get online safely. Please contact Tim Parry on 0118 961 2000 or by email at tim.parry@ccberks.org.uk

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