Southwest NI district ranked as UK’s least digitally connected area

The local government district of Fermanagh and Omagh in southwest Northern Ireland has been ranked as the least digitally connected area of the UK in a new study. The research, carried out by marketing firm N.Rich using ONS and Ofcom data from the past three months, found that close to a third of premises in Fermanagh and Omagh have no access to superfast broadband.

The study also revealed that one in eight residents of the district have not used the internet for at least the past three months. The area was found to have 500 per cent more non-users of the internet than the UK’s most digitally connected area: Bexley and Greenwich.

Overall, the study showed that Northern Ireland has some of the poorest digital access in the UK. In total, 11 per cent in Northern Ireland had not used the internet within the last three months, compared to the national average of 7 per cent.

Mid-Ulster was also found to have low digital connectivity, with close to a quarter of premises lacking access to superfast broadband and 750 per cent more non-users than Bexley and Greenwich. In Causeway Coast and Glen, 15 percent of people had not used the internet over the past three months and 14 per cent of premises didn’t have access to a superfast connection.

Other poorly connected areas of Northern Ireland highlighted in the study included Newry, Mourne and Down, and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

An N.Rich spokesperson commented: “When you compare the internet use of UK residents with their ability to access fast broadband, it paints a clear picture of the digital divide and where it hits hardest. As the internet is now our core means of communication, from educating our children, to accessing work and running businesses, it’s more important than ever to ensure that every part of the UK has fair digital access.”

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