Page last updated at 06:26 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 07:26 UK

NI tops for mobile music choice

Tv edit suite
NI has the lowest uptake of digital TV

Northern Ireland may be on the fringes of Europe, but its people are leading the UK in accessing mobile services.

A report, from Ofcom, found more people listen to the radio or MP3s on their mobile phone than anywhere else in the UK: 19% compared to an average of 17%.

Mobile users are more likely to access the internet by phone with 23% doing so, compared to a UK figure of 20%.

They are also nearly twice as likely than any other nation to watch video content this way at 7% compared to 4%.

Country is beating the city in online connection speed, according to the report, which found 54% of rural homes had broadband compared to 52% in urban areas.

Northern Ireland has the lowest uptake of digital TV, at 79%, but this has risen by 10% from last year.

It found that 27% of households in Londonderry relied on mobile phones compared to 11% across NI.

Woman watching TV on mobile
People in NI are leading the UK in mobile use

Derry also has the highest percentage of households using broadband and social networking.

The report found 60% of households have a broadband connection and 28% of adults said they lived in a house where a social networking site was used.

Despite the relentless march of the internet television news is more popular with viewers in NI than anywhere else in the UK, with UTV Live at Six and BBC Newsline both attracting audiences well above the UK average for evening news.

UTV at 39% has the highest viewing share of all UK evening news bulletins.

Programs from the Republic of Ireland are popular, with 71% of Northern Ireland viewers able to receive channels from across the border.

Those in the border areas (92%), and the west (89%) were more likely to receive them than those in the east.

Almost one-third of respondents reported watching RTÉ 1 and RTÉ 2 on a daily basis with roughly another 40% watching at least once a week.

The report said that for a significant minority, access to these channels was very important.

About two-fifths said that the hypothetical loss of RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2, TV3 and TG4 would be "a major problem" and that they would be "very unhappy".

Speakers of Irish and Ulster Scots can access and edit versions of Wikipedia in their own languages.

As of January 2008, there were over 6,000 Wikipedia articles in Irish and over 2,000 in Ulster Scots.

Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said the report showed the "digital divide" between urban and rural dwellers had gone.

"The report also shows that in Northern Ireland, take-up of all communications services continues to grow with more people watching digital television and listening to DAB digital radio and consumers are benefiting from convergence and using new ways to access traditional services," he said.

Denis Wolinski, Ofcom Northern Ireland Director, said: "The report shows that people in Northern Ireland are the most converged and are strides ahead of the rest of the UK in using their mobile phones to access the internet and watch a television clip."

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