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Smart Scots: Nation beats UK for uptake of new technology

SCOTS are taking up smart technology faster than any other part of the UK, and increasing their internet and tablet use, new figures show.

MULTI-TASKING: Use of tablets such as iPads or Kindle Fires in Scotland has increased by 18 per cent, with 42 per cent of households now having them. Picture: Graham Hughes
MULTI-TASKING: Use of tablets such as iPads or Kindle Fires in Scotland has increased by 18 per cent, with 42 per cent of households now having them. Picture: Graham Hughes

The annual Market Report by Ofcom, the communications regulator, has found the percentage of households in Scotland using smartphones such as iPhones and Androids went up by 17 per cent to 62 per cent in 2014.

Use of tablets such as iPads or Kindle Fires has also increased, by 18 per cent, with 42 per cent of households owning a device.

Broadband use, which in previous years lagged behind the rest of the UK, has increased by six per cent, to 76 per cent, just below the UK average of 77 per cent.

The better take-up of broadband has also been seen in Glasgow, which has grown significantly in the last year, with 63 per cent now being connected to broadband internet services.

In addition, eight out of 10 homes in Scotland now have internet access, up by five per cent to come into line with the UK average of 81 per cent.

The use of mobiles to access the internet increased by 12 percentage points - the biggest increase of the UK nations, bringing Scotland to 56 per cent. Use in the UK as a whole stands at 57 per cent.

Vicki Nash, director of Ofcom in Scotland, said: "Scotland is now keeping up with the rest of the UK in the take-up and use of communications services and devices and in fact in some areas we are ahead of the UK average.

"This is a marked change from the past when we were less prolific users. Glasgow is still behind the rest of the UK in broadband take-up [the UK average is 76 per cent] but the gap has narrowed and that is great news for Glasgow and all the households that are now getting the benefits of being online. It's a better story for Glasgow this year." Ms Nash said the popularity of online services such as shopping and banking, and some public services only being available online, may have fuelled the changes.

Scotland is also, of all the UK nations, using media and communications devices the most in any single day.

The UK average use of "total daily media and communications" is 11 hours and seven minutes a day - whereas respondents in Scotland recorded 11 hours and 41 minutes a day.

Internet users in Scotland claimed to spend 16 hours 30 minutes on the internet per week, slightly less than the UK average of 16 hours 54 minutes.

Smart TV take up in Scotland is at eight per cent, up four per cent and at the same level as the rest of the UK. Using a mobile to access the internet in Scotland was recorded by 56 per cent of those surveyed, up 12 per cent and at the same level as the UK average. Mobile phone take-up in Scotland stands at 95 per cent.

In other areas of the report, the figures show BBC and STV spend on original content for viewers in Scotland has remained stable at around £52 million per year over the last four years.

Scottish network TV productions accounted for 5.9 per cent of spending on original network programming in 2013, up from 4.4 per cent in the previous year.

The UK-wide version of the report suggested that Britons are reaching their peak understanding of digital technology at the age of 14 to 15.

It also suggests six-year-olds have the same understanding of using gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets as 45-year-olds.

However, teenagers are turning away from talking on the phone, with just three per cent of their communications time spent making voice calls. The vast majority of their time spent communicating - 94 per cent - is text-based, such as instant messaging or using social networking sites.

In contrast, a fifth - 20 per cent - of time communicating by adults is spent making calls on the phone.

Jane Rumble, head of media research and intelligence at Ofcom, said the data led to the "question [of] whether the ­millennium generation is losing its voice" or whether ­children will make voice calls more as they get older.

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