A new survey has revealed which UK regions are talking to which other UK regions and which areas are just talking to themselves.
Research conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University and University College, London analysed 12 billion calls in the UK during August 2005.
The results were published in the journal PLoS ONE on December 8th and show that some areas, including Scotland, are more likely to speak to people from the same area than they are to make and receive calls outside their geographical area.
Perhaps the Scots could benefit from signing up to pay as you go sim only deals such as those offered by giffgaff. They would be encouraged to phone further afield by the free unlimited phone calls that can be made between members of the giffgaff community.
Scotland and Wales
Researchers ensured the anonymity of callers during the survey which only used landline data. The project found that Scottish people spent 77 per cent of all their phone time speaking to other Scottish people. Further South, in Wales, the figure was a far lower 23 per cent.
Researcher Carlo Ratti of MIT, describes the difference between Scotland and Wales as “striking”, noting: “Based on our landline data, Scotland is very separated from the rest of Great Britain: just 23.3 per cent of all call time placed or received there goes to or comes from another part of the country.
Conversely, Wales, in spite of its unique cultural and linguistic heritage, is well integrated with its English neighbours to the east.”
The researchers drew up a map to show the inter-connectivity of regions and found that existing boundaries ?such as county border lines and constituency areas ?tend to dictate who we speak to most often on the phone.
The Midlands connection
But they did find some notable exceptions. It was apparent, for instance, that Wales had a noticeable connection with the West Midlands.
Yorkshire could also be twinned with the East Midlands. It could be that business connections and good transport links explain how these areas are ‘twinned together’
Future mobile regional survey?
If similar research were to be conducted using mobile data, the results could be very different as landlines are used more often than mobiles are for business calls.
Handsets are more frequently used for social calls and as people frequently use mobile phones for sending emails, a mobile survey could give a clearer, overall regional picture of how we communicate with each other.
The research could have vital implications if the government were to again redraw constituency boundaries ?which dictate how people elect members of parliament – as New Labour controversially did a few years ago.
With this in mind, the researchers have now moved their attention to collating data in countries where the redrawing of boundaries is a very real possibility.
Such research will have to tread carefully as any student of history will know that the drawing of boundaries is not to be undertaken lightly!
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