The district of Fermanagh and Omagh tops a ranking of areas in the UK with the worst digital connectivity, but broadband card is evolving rapidly in the north.
Research using the latest data from Ofcom and the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 31.1% of locals in the communal area could not access super-fast broadband, the highest in the UK.
N. Rich, who gathered the information, said official data suggests that one in eight people (12.5%) in the Fermanagh and Omagh area have not used the internet in the past three months .
The data company said it based its findings on the combination of super-fast broadband access and the percentage of people who were offline in the past 90 days.
Half of the table comprising the UK’s least connected regions consisted of municipal districts in Northern Ireland. Mid Ulster ranked third worst; with Causeway Coast and Glens at five o’clock; ahead of Newry, Morne and Down (seven); and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (new).
According to the study, 17.8% of people in Mid Ulster have not used the internet in the past three months, the highest rate in the north and well above the UK average of 7%.
But the makeup of this top ten table will soon be radically transformed in the wake of the rapidly evolving Stratum project.
Fibrus won Stormont’s £ 165million contract earlier this year to connect around 76,000 rural premises to fiber-optic broadband. An additional £ 25million was allocated by London last month which will further expand the program.
The company said it would also invest tens of millions of pounds on its own to bring gigabyte capable fiber broadband to 100,000 by the end of 2021.
Fibrus said it broke the 58,000 mark last month.
The Stratum project is expected to roll out in the Enniskillen area this fall, but the more rural parts of Fermanagh and Omagh may have to wait until 2022 and 2023.
Fibrus said work in Omagh and surrounding towns and villages is expected to begin in the spring and summer of 2022.
Most of southern Tyrone, the Clogher Valley, and eastern and northern parts of Fermanagh will be targeted in fall 2022
But the more rural areas of southwest Fermanagh and north Tyrone may have to wait another two years.
Openreach is also deploying a program to bring complete fiber to more than 400,000 premises.
Urban areas in the north are already well served in terms of very high speed broadband, but
As rural areas now catch up with the well-connected urban hubs of the north, telecoms expert Thomas O’Hagan of b4b in Belfast said: “Such is the scale of the deployment, Northern Ireland is on its way. ” be the first region in Ireland or the UK to achieve nearly 100% full fiber broadband coverage.