Vodafone pledges to close urban-rural 5G divide

Vodafone has pledged to ‘close the digital divide’ between rural and urban areas in the UK after research found 46 per cent of rural deprived areas were classed as ‘5G not spots’ versus just 2.7 per cent of deprived urban communities.

The British telco found that 838,000 people living in deprived rural areas across the UK are losing out on the benefits of 5G, including better access to healthcare and more educational opportunities.

Scotland, Wales, East Anglia, Cumbria and the South-West were found to be the worst performing areas identified with a lack of connectivity and high levels of deprivation.

Vodafone said improved connectivity, through investment in digital infrastructure, will “help these communities not only today, but also tomorrow as those living in not spots simply won’t learn the digital skills they need for the future.”

“We believe everyone should have access to connectivity and our research shows the alarming rate at which almost a million people living in deprived rural communities are being left behind,” said Andrea Dona, chief network officer at Vodafone UK.

“It’s clear we need to accelerate the roll-out of the UK’s 5G infrastructure, which is what we commit to do as part of our proposed merger with Three UK. We would close the rural digital divide by delivering 95 per cent 5G Standalone geographic coverage by 2034.”

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