23/06/2016

Minister Called To 'Step Up Efforts' Over Lack Of Broadband Provision In Rural Areas

The Minister for the Economy is being urged to "step up efforts" over the chronic lack of broadband provision in rural areas in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP have pushed rural broadband to the top of the Assembly agenda at Stormont.

SDLP MLA Sinead Bradley said schools and businesses are struggling to reach the basic levels of broadband speeds.
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She said: "'Not spots' as they have become known don't only impact on business, but also on rural families, on their children’s education and on their ability to drive economic growth and productivity. The failure of the Executive to address this issue is just another example of their willingness to allow certain communities to fall further and further behind.

"The deficit in broadband provision is most acute in border areas, where 42% of premises do not have access to the proposed Universal Service Obligation Speed of 10Mbit/s. Only 2% of premises in urban areas fall short of this requirement.

"It is no longer the case that broadband speeds can be considered a luxury. They have become standard in most households and fundamental necessity for any businesses hoping to compete in an increasingly global and connected market."

(CD)

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