Residents in Scotland's biggest city are missing out on the benefits of the internet, including education, local government and health services, because of poor broadband uptake, Ofcom has warned.

Glasgow has the lowest take-up of broadband of any major city in the UK, the communications regulator found in its annual report – a persistent trend it believes is cutting residents off from services and opportunities now available online.

Ofcom believes communities and age groups in Glasgow that do not have broadband need to be encouraged to see its benefits, such as educational material for children, local government functions or simply contacting relatives cheaply.

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Only 50% of adults in Glasgow had fixed broadband in 2011, Ofcom's annual Communications Market Report says, compared to the UK average of 76%. Scotland as a whole has 68% of the population connected to broadband, up 7% on last year.

Data used by Ofcom show that the economic hardship experienced by six in 10 adults in Glasgow, classified as "hard pressed", affects broadband take-up. However, the report also finds that Glaswegians are less likely to have broadband than the UK average, regardless of age or socio-economic group.

There are low levels of take-up among 35 to 44-year-olds (58%) and 45 to 64-year-olds (35%), and among the socio-economic groups C2 (47%) and DE (36%).

The figure for 45 to 64-year- olds, compared to the UK average of 79% is "particularly low", the report says.

Ofcom says this year there had been signs of improvement in Glasgow, with the broadband take-up rising to around 60% in the first quarter of this year.

Vicki Nash, director of Ofcom Scotland, said: "There are benefits to individual households to being online but there are also societal benefits.

"If you think of the move for public services to being online, such as council tax, to telehealth services – whereby people can in their own home discuss with their doctor or medical centre –there are big benefits to individuals and society from having that connectivity."

Scotland, overall, has taken up broadband in the past year faster than any other UK nation.