Sinn Fein press DETI on rural broadband coverage

August 19, 2013

Sinn Féin MLAs Cathal Boylan and Megan Fearon, both of whom represent rural parts of the Newry Armagh constituency, have responded to a Department of Enterprise consultation on the provision of basic and superfast broadband services.

Mr Boylan said,

“DETI provided information on postcode areas which would be included in their review of broadband coverage.

“We trawled the lists and added a substantial number of postcodes belonging to constituents who had complained to us about the broadband speeds at their homes and businesses.

“Extending the reach of acceptable broadband speeds across rural Armagh and South Armagh is something that Sinn Féin is very supportive of.  We welcome the consultation process as an initial step in that direction.

“Newry Armagh contains many marginalised areas in terms of Internet broadband speeds.  This creates a severe obstacle to economic development in parts of the constituency and it also impacts on people socially. It is vital that such matters are fully and properly addressed and that adequate funding is targeted at reducing such barriers to trade and investment in the area.”

Ms Fearon explained that the Sinn Féin representatives have arranged a meeting with DETI Minister Arlene Foster to pursue this issue,

“We have secured a meeting with Minister Foster on 10th September and broadband coverage in our constituency is the chief point we wish to emphasise” said Ms Fearon.

“In May of this year Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill announced that her department was investing £5 million towards the provision of rural broadband and we will be ensuring that the ‘Not-Spots’ of Newry and Armagh are not forgotten.”