Cloney public meeting hears of broadband frustration in rural districts

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North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan (centre) and Cllr. Patrice Hardy (right) at a meeting along with representatives of OFCOM, BT Openreach and B4B.

A meeting has heard of frustration from residents and businesses regarding broadband in rural areas.

Speaking after a public meeting which he organised with OFCOM, BT and other internet providers in the Acorn Centre in Cloney near Ahoghill, Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said: “There is understandable frustration among rural dwellers who can’t get access to superfast broadband.

“Proper broadband is a vital utility in the 21st Century. It is vital for rural businesses, for those who work from home, for children doing their homework, for farmers, for shopping online, for social contact with family and friends and for many other aspects of modern living.

“This was a well attended meeting for people in rural Ahoghill, Ballyscullion areas and provided an update on plans from government and Council over the next few years to improve broadband speeds in rural areas.

“Currently their are 4,800 premises in Mid and East Antrim Council area unable to receive even 10 Mbits/sec.

“This is unacceptable. Most of the government intervention plans to help rural dwellers are medium and long term plans and this only added to people’s sense of frustration at being left behind.

“Sinn Féin for our part are determined that future funding must be allocated to rural dwellers to ensure that right across this constituency of North Antrim all premises have superfast broadband available.

“In the meantime we discussed the possibility of local Community Fibre partnerships and intend to explore this option further with the local community.”

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