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Following the publication of Ofcom's latest usage report, the Independent has asked whether broadband can create a more equal society.

The telecoms regulator's annual Communications Market Report has identified that for the first time, those living in the countryside are more likely to have a broadband connection than urban residents.

In its investigation into to what extent the digital divide has been overcome, the Independent suggests that broadband has passed the point of being a technology only available to an elite.

"Broadband has brought online shopping, banking and other facilities to rural areas where they used to be a long car journey away," it continues.

Citing the case of Sunderland, it also identifies how broadband can help to breathe commercial life into "blighted" industrial areas.

However, the paper concludes by suggesting that more needs to be done to make broadband more affordable for those from low income backgrounds, with middle-class members of society currently said to be much more likely to have a broadband connection.

It was revealed recently that in an effort to deliver affordable broadband, council estate residents in Solihull are set to receive wireless broadband through existing plug sockets.

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