IN NEWS that will surprise few locally, a new study has confirmed Fermanagh has the worst digital access in the UK, with thousands of locals not accessing the internet at all in months.
The research shows one in eight people in the Fermanagh and Omagh area have not accessed the internet at all in the past three months. Overall, a total of 12.5 percent of local people have not used the internet in the past three months, while 31.1 percent of homes in the district have zero coverage for superfast broadband.
The study, which was carried out by company N.Rich using Office of National Statistics and OFCOM data, showed Powys in Wales had the second worst access, while Mid Ulster came in third, with Drumfries and Galloway with the fourth worst access. Those with the most access were in the south of England, with Bexley and Greenwhich coming out top, followed by Brighton and Hove then Croydon.
“One in eight people in Fermanagh and Omagh have not used the internet at all in the past three months, if ever, and nearly a third of premises have zero access to superfast broadband – the highest proportion of premises with no access in the UK. Fermanagh and Omagh has 500 percent more internet non-users than Bexley and Greenwich, the UK’s most digitally connected area,” said a spokesman for N.Rich.
They added: “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.”
The current Project Fibrus scheme, which aims to provide superfast broadband to local homes that currently receive an unworkable service, is currently underway locally.
However, many homes who felt they should’ve been included in the £165 million scheme have been left out. For example, homes in areas where private companies have indicated plans to improve the service in future have not been included in Project Stratum.
It is hoped the announcement of a further £25 million for the project will mean more local properties will now be included, with expectations up to 8,500 homes in the Fermanagh, Tyrone, Derry and mid Ulster areas could be added to the scheme.
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