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England is Top of FarrPoint’s New UK Digital Readiness Index

Monday, Oct 23rd, 2023 (11:28 am) - Score 744
FarrPoint-Q4-2023-Digital-Readiness-Index

Technical UK consultancy firm FarrPoint has today published their first Digital Connectivity Readiness Index (DCRI), which is designed to enable policymakers and digital leaders to identify where a region performs well and where challenges remain when it comes to mobile (4G, 5G), gigabit broadband, skills and other areas.

The scores contained within the DCRI are based on key indicators gathered from a series of data sources, including Ofcom and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The infrastructure side covers four key indicators based on metrics around Gigabit Broadband, Superfast, 4G and 5G connectivity. But then, on the adoption side, eight key indicators have been produced looking at Online Households, Digital Skills, Security Online, Online Wellbeing, Access to Public Services, Affordability, the Digital Economy and Innovation.

NOTE: FarrPoint is working with various UK public bodies (including Local and Combined Authorities) to define their local readiness scores, which can then be used to track progress over time and compare progress against regional and national averages.

A “robust approach to weighting” has been used to ensure that the indicators take into account the commercial, regulatory and policy prioritisation considerations. This included a larger weight being put on the adoption of digital technologies, given the importance that this has in delivering real outcomes for households and businesses alike.

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Overall, the new report found that England is the “most-prepared home nation” when it comes to digital readiness, according to its new benchmarking framework. England scored 86 out of a possible 100, followed by Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with scores of 80, 79 and 77 respectively.

DCRI Regional Summary

• England performs well on both infrastructure (89) and adoption (84), driven by a strong roll out of digital networks and a vibrant digital economy. However, challenges remain around security and wellbeing online, which are key challenges for adoption.

• Scotland’s lower score for infrastructure (79) reflects some of the key challenges in rolling out networks across rural regions, such as the Highlands and Islands. On adoption (79), whilst Scotland scores well on household adoption including the use of online public services, it performs less well on digital economy and innovation indicators.

• Northern Ireland’s DCRI results paint a particularly interesting picture, with a significant difference in performance on infrastructure (86) and adoption (76). On one hand, Project Stratum has seen significant improvements made to the network infrastructure. However, indicators around the digital sector, innovation and getting households online are below that of the rest of the UK.

• Wales’ performance is broadly similar across the infrastructure (78) and adoption (77) indexes. While the country performed well on 4G and superfast connectivity, roll-out of Gigabit and 5G networks are both below the UK average. On the adoption side, challenges around security, wellbeing and skills, as well as a less vibrant digital economy means its score is lower than the UK average.

The UK as a whole has an average DCRI score of 84, with an infrastructure sub-score of 87. But on adoption, the UK scores 83, suggesting there is more to be done.

Matthew Izatt-Lowry, Senior Economist at FarrPoint, said:

“Digital connectivity is increasingly important in enabling economic, social and environmental change. We understand how vital it is for local decision makers to take an evidence-based approach to understand their key challenges and opportunities. That’s why we have created the Digital Connectivity Readiness Index as a tool to enable the sector to make the best possible decisions. It’s important for decision makers to have this kind of information when developing digital strategies and prioritising projects to maximise impact and benefits for their region.

As can be seen from the results of this initial DCRI analysis, the UK and its constituent nations perform well on many of the infrastructure indicators. However, infrastructure alone, without adoption, will not produce any benefits for households, communities or businesses meaning there is still a lot of opportunity to improve the country-wide adoption of the technology.

The next stage for local decision makers is to find out how their region scores, which will allow them to better understand where the key opportunities are for harnessing the full potential of digital.”

The full DCRI report is more like a simplified overview and so doesn’t go into much detail, although it will be interesting to see how it tracks change over time. The next FarrPoint Digital Connectivity Readiness Index results will be released in early 2024, so we won’t have long to wait, and hopefully future updates will give us a closer view of different local authority areas.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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