Friday, February 16, 2007

Internet Inequality

Sarah Richards' report "Internet Inequality in Wales Update 2006" is now available from the Welsh Consumer Council. I mentioned it earlier in the week, but since then I've been able to read the original report. For those of us working / thinking / learning in Wales it makes for interesting reading.

  • Data for March 2006 showed that 47% of Welsh homes had an Internet connection. In 1999 that figure was 10%.
  • The likelihood of home connection is unsurprisingly still related to social class, 64% of ABC1s are connected 67% of C2DEs are not.
  • Of particular relevance to us at Treforest is the low connection level in the Valleys, 40% as opposed to 53% in Cardiff. (I wonder how many of our students actually come from the valleys?)

The figures relating to students are curious. The report states :-

"Students are by far the most likely to personally use the Internet with 94% doing so compared to just 23% of people who are wholly retired or not working. Interestingly, only 72% of students have a home Internet connection but 94% personally use the Internet, suggesting that they use computers in locations outside the home and / or mobile technology instead of a home connection."

This raises all sorts of questions for HE planners.
(I wonder what the definition of home might be halls of residence, digs or real home address).

I suspect that these figures suggest that student Internet access is done from on campus, it would be interesting to discover just how much time students spend on line. Perhaps they are really not that connected!

This an excellent report, clearly and precisely written.

Kudos to the Welsh Consumer Council for reminding us that

"it is important to note that over half the population of Wales still do not use the Internet".

Those of us who access it daily would do well to reflect upon that.

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