USwitch unveils areas with the biggest ‘digital divide’ in new report


  • fibre broadband created a unique scoring system (‘Digital Divide’) to showcase which councils have the most, and least, access to digital technology
  • Scotland and Wales feature six times in the top 10 most divided councils, but only once in the 25 least digitally divided councils
  • Less than a fifth of residents in Argyll and Bute, the area with the greatest digital divide, work from home
  • Nine out of ten (90%) councils with the smallest digital divide are in southern England
  • fibre broadband expert, Max Beckett, comments on how to get the most out of your connection.

Uswitch has analysed fibre broadband data and working from home statistics in councils across Great Britain, to pinpoint which local authorities are most ahead or behind with their residents’ access to digital technologies, assigning each area a ‘Digital Divide’ score.

The results suggest that council authorities with a smaller ‘digital divide’ score are more likely to be based in regions with greater economic growth and employment prospects, whereas those with a larger digital divide are more likely to see more limited development, both financially and in residents’ opportunities for employment.

Table 1: The ten councils with the greatest digital divide (greatest to smallest)

Council Work from home (any) Median download speed (Mbps) Full fibre (% premises FTTP) Digital divide score
Argyll and Bute 18.0% 26.7 5.8% 97.9%
Highland 23.5% 29.7 31.9% 92.9%
Copeland 24.3% 27.8 3.4% 92.6%
Dumfries and Galloway 24.2% 30.1 24.4% 92.1%
Allerdale 25.0% 34.8 6.9% 91.7%
West Lindsey 23.8% 37.7 31.4% 89.9%
Moray 22.0% 35.8 47.3% 89.6%
Stirling 22.2% 26.7 55.4% 89.5%
Rochdale 20.0% 37.1 17.3% 87.2%
Neath Port Talbot 22.3% 38.0 17.6% 87.2%


Argyll and Bute, which covers the second largest administrative area of all Scottish councils, is the most digitally divided area in Great Britain according to our study. 85.7% of premises have superfast broadband, but only 5.8% of premises have access to full-fibre broadband, contributing to the region’s 97.9% digital divide score.

Councils lacking strong, fast broadband connections have a significantly lower rate of home-workers. The workforces of the ten councils with the greatest digital divide only report, on average, 22.5% as working from home, with the two lowest scorers, Argyll and Bute and Rochdale, reporting less than a fifth. Only one of the ten most divided councils, Allerdale, has just over a quarter (25.0%) of people working from home.

The digital divide is unevenly spread across Great Britain, with only one council each from Scotland and Wales in the top 25 least digitally divided areas – the city of Edinburgh (15.6%) and the Vale of Glamorgan (17.3%), respectively. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, 12 of the 25 (48.0%) most digitally divided areas are in Scotland and Wales, the two worst being Scottish councils Highland (92.9%) and Argyll and Bute (97.9%).

Table 1: The ten councils with the smallest digital divide (smallest to greatest)

Council Work from home (any) Median download speed (Mbps) Full fibre (% premises FTTP) Digital divide score
Lambeth 53.8% 58.6 64.0% 6.6%
Hackney 53.2% 72.6 44.7% 6.7%
Wandsworth 52.4% 61.8 68.2% 6.7%
Thanet 53.3% 50.6 69.8% 7.8%
Cambridge 48.5% 78.9 69.4% 8.2%
St Albans 63.1% 65.2 59.8% 8.9%
Kensington and Chelsea 49.5% 74.5 61.2% 9.3%
Three Rivers 47.7% 72.1 70.10% 9.6%
Spelthorne 48.2% 58.2 68.40% 9.9%
Rugby 52.5% 69.5 48.70% 10.2%


Conversely, six of the ten councils with the smallest divide – St Albans, Lambeth, Thanet, Hackney, Rugby, and Wandsworth – also rank in the top 20 areas for the highest proportion of working from home. This could suggest that councils with a small digital divide afford their population more hybrid working opportunities.

Lambeth is Great Britain’s local authority with the smallest digital divide. With a digital divide score of only 6.6%, 98.9% of premises in the area have superfast broadband, with over six in ten (64.0%) having access to full-fibre. 

Says fibre broadband expert, Max Beckett, comments on how to get the most out of your connection:

“Our digital divide report shows that regions with a poorer internet connection have less access to digital technology overall, with lower work-from-home rates and less reliable connections to the internet. Meanwhile, British councils with the smallest digital divide have higher percentages of their workforce able to work remotely.

“With the UK government recently committing £3.5 billion towards their ambition of becoming a scientific and technological superpower, including ‘levelling up’ more areas of the UK to foster better paid jobs and opportunities in these sectors, it is important to ensure people of all backgrounds will benefit from this investment in digital tech.

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to