West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Mc Aleer concerned at rural broadband 'knot-spots'

Published: 15 December, 2017

West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has expressed concern that the Fermanagh and Omagh district has the highest number of premises in the north without satisfactory broadband. He was speaking after attending a broadband forum organised by the regulator Ofcom and addressed by government and industry experts.

Mr Mc Aleer said "Across the north, 83% of premises have access to superfast broadband, which is defined as 30Mbit/s or over. However, in the Fermanagh and Omagh district 1 in 4 premises still do not have access to broadband speeds of 10Mbit/s, which is a bare minimum for the most basic of internet usage.

"This is a startling figure and has many implications for business growth and development, education, inward investment and keeping in contact with the outside world. The Fermanagh-Omagh district contains some of the most dispersed rural areas of the north and the lack of connectivity adds to the sense of isolation as rural areas also suffer from a lack of basic services.

"Access to the internet is fundamental to our lives, it is no longer a luxury and at the conference I made a strong case to BT and other stakeholders that any future investment and moves towards a universal service provision must begin with looking at the many 'knot-spots' that are prevalent across rural communities in the north".