SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon has revealed that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment are set to make further investment in rural broadband provision.
The new infrastructure scheme will cost £24.5million will target 45,000 homes across Northern Ireland and the project is set to be delivered by BT.
Councillor O’Hanlon revealed that he has been lobbying DETI, DARD and BT on the issue over recent years and hoped that one of the first areas to be targeted are rural and border communities.
He explained: “Broadband or indeed the lack of it is a major issue for people living and working in rural communities. All too often we see incidents where one resident has access to high speed broadband whilst the next door neighbour has no access at all.
“I have held meetings with representatives from DARD and DETI over recent months and indeed have had a number of meetings with representatives of BT. I am delighted that a contract has now been signed between DETI and BT to roll out a programme which will target blackspots or as they are known – ‘not spots’. Considerable progress is expected to be made across the network within the next 12 months.
“I have been passing on the many queries from local residents from areas of Granemore, Darkley, Carnagh, Derrynoose, Madden, Killylea, Tullysaran and Blackwatertown to name a few. I have been assured by BT that the greater Armagh area and border region will be one of the first areas targeted by the company in the coming months.
“In many areas, the infrastructure is about 60% there, this project will concentrate on the next 40%, reaching out to rural and isolated communities. I hope this will help businesses and rural dwellers alike. I would also encourage people currently affected to get in contact so I can pass on your details to BT to ensure your area is included.”