Residents of Mid and East Antrim now have a legal right to request a ‘decent, affordable broadband connection’ from BT under the new Universal Service Obligation (USO) for Broadband, a council press release says.
Following the launch of the Universal Service on 20 March, BT is in the process of writing to all premises that Ofcom’s preliminary analysis has shown may be eligible.
Some households in the borough will be receiving letters in the coming days and they will be encouraged to contact BT on 0800 783 0223.
When they call, BT will carry out some checks to confirm their analysis was correct, and that the household is eligible for an upgraded broadband connection at no cost to them.
This service is defined in law as an “affordable” service with a download speed of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1 Mbps.
Councillors were informed of the development at the recent monthly meeting held in Ballymena.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “I very much welcome this announcement from BT that they will be contacting residents within Mid and East Antrim.
“At a time when people are working from home it is vitally important that they have access to a decent, affordable broadband so they can stay connected.
“Now that businesses are starting to reopen again their Broadband connections needs to be up to standard so they can fulfil the service needs of their customers.
“It is also extremely important for people who are staying at home and want to be in regular contact with family who they have not seen for some time due to the restrictions.
“This is a great step forward for the area.”
Already, 89% of homes and commercial premises across in Northern Ireland currently have access to ‘superfast broadband’ (at least 30Mbps) or better if they wish to receive it.