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Following Ofcom's recent report on the state of the UK broadband market, one commentator has described usage patterns as a patchwork quilt.

Guardian contributor Maggie Brown suggests that while a lot has been made of the assertion that rural broadband users now outstrip urban users throughout the UK, this belies a much more varied picture of broadband usage.

"Britain is so far from being a homogenous entity when it comes to the way we use the media and adopt new technology that policy makers watching from the sidelines are now scratching their heads," she explains.

Ms Brown notes that for unknown reasons, Sunderland is the broadband capital of the north, while residents in the Scottish Highlands and Islands lead the way in terms of take up of Voice over IP telephony.

In Londonderry meanwhile, 28 per cent of residents use social networking sites, a figure which is eight percentage points higher than the national average.

She added that because of this diversity, policy-makers need to think considerably about implementing broadband programmes that aren't flexible enough to respond to the differing needs of various UK communities.

It is the third time that Ofcom has released its Nations & Regions Communications Market report, which looks at broadband, TV, radio and telecoms usage throughout the country.

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