SDLP adviser Adam Gannon (pictured) wrote to DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons to increase digital poverty in Fermanagh after a new study found Fermanagh and Omagh to be the least digitally connected area in the UK.
The study, by marketing firm N. Rich, found that one in eight people in Fermanagh and Omagh had not used the internet in the past three months, while 31.1% had no coverage for very high speed.
Councilor Gannon has written to Minister Lyons to determine what could be done to improve connectivity and attract more people online.
Adviser to Erne West said: “No one in Fermanagh will be surprised that we have the worst digital connections in the North or in Britain. The only surprise is that it has taken so long for someone to do anything. You would think that this would have been a priority given that the former Prime Minister represented this constituency and that her party has held the portfolio of the Economy for 14 years. region not being able to access super high speed broadband is shameful and it is damning that Fermanagh and Omagh were considered the worst digital access area in the whole of the UK.
âAs a teacher, I know how important online access is for our young people. It has become an important learning tool, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, when students were encouraged to learn remotely, and it is also widely used by young people both for recreation and for socializing.
âNot being able to use online services can also have a significant impact on our local businesses. Stores, boutiques and businesses here could benefit from selling their products online and many of the measures used to help manage the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses required online access, an unreliable connection can be the difference between surviving or collapsing.
âI wrote to Minister Lyons asking him to urgently address the issues that are leaving Fermanagh and Omagh behind when it comes to connectivity. Our local people must have the same online access as people in the rest of the North and beyond. ”