Analysis of Office of National Statistics data revealed that during the pandemic NI was the region with the most adult residents living offline -- more than 174,000 adults. According to Rouge Media's digital map, the worst affected region in NI was Mid-Ulster, with 17.8% of over 16s (21,000 people) offline. NI was the region with the most marked digital divide, as 11.8% of adults reported that they hadn't been online in the last three months or ever, followed by the North East and Wales. Greater London was the area with the greatest percentage of people online.
Separately, the University of Manchester published research findings that there are 9 million adults in the UK who cannot use the internet without help, and that in England, a disproportionate number of them live in the north, evidence of a clear geographic divide. It called on government to implement a "truly inclusive digital strategy", including sustainable solutions to data poverty.