Just take a quick glance at the below.
The big bulks of red are all you need to know.
In Europe, in particular, there is a dense red line from London through the Dutch rand (Rotterdam and Amsterdam), the German Ruhrgebiet (Dortmund, Essen, Gelsenkirchen etc), Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and over the Alps to Milan.
That is a map of connected devices in the world, but it also shows where economic power is thus concentrated. All Europe’s economic focus is on that corridor – innovation hubs target it, government transport policies prioritise it, people seeking a better life are sucked towards it. These just happens to be the cities and regions where GDP/capita is 50% or more above the EU average. They are the ones to which we need to be connected.
Continue it north west from London and you do indeed get Birmingham, Manchester, and yes the east coast of Ireland. We could join the connection! Arguably, Dublin is already there but Belfast lags.
Yet look at the departures board at either Belfast Airport! You may see Amsterdam but you will see none of the others.
It is time we got to know Frankfurt and Milan as well as we know Fuengirola and Marbella…