Digital poverty transformation: accessing digital services in rural northwest communities

by Katy Mason, Sharon Wagg, Bingbing Ge, Ben Harrison, Niall Hayes, David Perez, Trinley Walker and Melanie Wilkes

Number of pages


This report presents a state-of-the-art literature review that identifies the conditions of digital poverty and exclusion. Six conditions that collectively characterize and specify digital poverty are identified: infrastructure, social demographics, skills and support, place, purpose and everyday practice. The report also presents findings from a rural Northwest England regional survey (501 participants) and 15 in-depth interviews with participants experiencing digital poverty: four personas use stylised facts to characterize those living in digital poverty. A roundtable with policy stakeholders considered the dynamic nature of digital poverty revealed by our analysis. Recommendations for interventions included a systematic and coordinated approach to digital services affordability and digital access education at a national, regional and (hyper)local scale, to build the confidence and capabilities of those living in digital poverty.

Regional and national policy briefings

Alongside their full report, the project team at Lancaster University and the Work Foundation also produced two briefings that assess the drivers of digital poverty among rural communities in the North West of England and provide policy implications and recommendations for both regional and national policymakers.

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