Thursday, April 27, 2006

NI's digital highs (texting) and lows (TV & radio)

In the second half of 2005, Ofcom surveyed regions across the UK, and their published findings make interesting reading for Northern Ireland.

People in Northern Ireland send the most texts per week – 37 texts against a UK average of 28 texts – and listen to more hours of radio than the UK average.

People in Northern Ireland rely more on mobile phones as the only means of making and receiving phone calls (12% compared with an 8% UK average).

In Northern Ireland, with a high rural population, more people live further than 5km from a broadband enabled exchange than the UK average and are therefore less likely to receive higher speed broadband services (26% compared with a 14% UK average).

Lower take-up of digital TV in Northern Ireland (52% compared with UK average 65%) is consistent with lower than average availability of DTT and cable, and consumers have higher levels of uncertainty around whether or not they are likely to take-up this service in the future (21% uncertain compared to UK average 10%). Cost may also be an issue.

Northern Ireland has significantly lower take-up of digital radio services (21% vs. UK average 32%). Evidence indicates that listeners are happy with their currentanalogue services or not interested in digital radio.

Only the three main TV transmitters at Divis, Limavady and Brougher Mountain have been digitally enabled. Wales has similar coverage to NI, but has the highest take-up in the UK. Digital cable services from ntl are available to 30% of people in NI (in the more densely populated areas), compared to a UK average of 45%.

Other findings of note include that

  • people in NI and London watch the least TV – just 23 hours a week;
  • other than in London, there are more text messages sent than phone calls made from mobile phones.

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