North East has lowest level on internet coverage in the country

Children using the internet
Children using the internet

Nearly one in five households in the North East has no access to the internet - the lowest level of coverage in the UK.

Some 18% of households in the region are not connected to the internet, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Other parts of Britain with low coverage include Wales, where 16% of households have no internet access, and the East Midlands (13%).

The average for the whole of Great Britain is 10% - down from 11% in 2016.

The North East has also seen a big jump in the level of non-access, from 8% in 2016 to 18% this year.

The ONS said that changes over short periods should be treated with caution, due to the size of the sample used for its survey.

The figures also show that just 6% of households in London and the South East have no internet access. Both regions recorded the highest levels of coverage in 2016 and 2011.

The area of the UK that has seen the biggest jump in coverage since 2006 is Scotland, from just under half of homes (48%) to nine out of 10 (90%).

In 2015 the Government announced a target of providing super-fast broadband coverage to 95% of UK households by the end of 2017.

The current level of coverage is 93%, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

This is slightly above the ONS estimate of 90% of households that actually have access to the internet.