Many parts of England are experiencing a persistent and deepening digital divide, a new report has warned.
According to the latest Point Topic Digital Deprivation Index, factors such as low incomes, education and disability are leading to some areas lagging behind others with regard to superfast broadband take-up.
West Somerset was identified as the most at-risk local authority area, ahead of Hull, East Lindsey, North Norfolk and King's Lynn and West Norfolk. Fenland, Tendring, Torridge, Boston and Hastings made up the rest of the top ten.
Point Topic warned that broadband non-adoption is being seen in both urban and rural environments, with income being the leading predictor of overall adoption.
Poorer populations are often being forced on to "relatively expensive, data limited broadband services", the report stated. Point Topic is therefore concerned that existing divides will become more entrenched in these areas.
The body added that the findings will help it ascertain what impact various risk factors have and identify "where we can start the next stage of broadband delivery for the UK and perhaps even extend our lead over our European partners".