Surfers in Northern Ireland are online for more time than the rest of the UK

Ofcom has been busy crunching statistics with its new 2015 Communications Market Report, and has revealed some very interesting stats concerning Northern Ireland – principally that out of all four home nations, Northern Irish citizens spend the most time online.

In fact, the amount of time spent online per week in Northern Ireland has increased massively from 13 hours and 48 minutes in the previous report, to 21 hours and 36 minutes now. That's just over three hours per day, every day, spent online.

The increase in the time spent web browsing (streaming, and whatever else) has of course been driven by the increased proliferation of smartphones and tablets.

Smartphones are now owned by 63 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland, and they are now the preferred means of going online, ahead of the humble notebook.

When asked what their most important device was in terms of going online, 37 per cent of those questioned said it was their handset, well ahead of the 26 per cent who still used their laptop as the primary means of staying connected.

As for the amount of Northern Irish citizens who own a tablet, that has now risen to 54 per cent of households (up from just 2 per cent four years ago).

And in terms of superfast broadband (defined as faster than 30Mbps), 77 per cent of all premises in Northern Ireland have access to such speeds. That's ahead of Scotland, but plays third fiddle to Wales and England.

And when it comes to superfast mobile surfing, Ofcom found that 91 per cent of premises in Northern Ireland had access to 4G coverage from at least one network. That's pretty impressive, and second only to England. Four in 10 smartphone owners in the country actually use a 4G service.

Finally, looking at television statistics, the penetration of smart TVs is lower than the rest of the UK, with a 15 per cent level reached in Northern Ireland compared to 21 per cent for the UK.

Ofcom said that on average, Northern Irish folks watched 15 minutes less broadcast TV every day last year compared to 2013, with an average viewing time of three hours and 47 minutes daily. That's mainly because more viewers are using on-demand and catch-up TV services.

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