Gildernew discusses advances in Broadband in rural areas (10/02/10)
10 February 2010
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew has met with representatives of BT to discuss the Next Generation Broadband project and its likely impact on rural areas.
The £48million project will see a significant improvement in telecommunications infrastructure with the introduction of new technology to increase broadband speeds across the north of Ireland. This includes deployment of fibre-optic technology to a number of exchanges in sparsely populated rural areas or areas where current technology is unable to supply customers from the exchange.
Speaking after the meeting with Chris Clarke, Northern Ireland BT Chief Executive, and Peter Russell, BT Head of Public Sector, Minister Gildernew said: “In modern society, where more and more government services, businesses, and all kinds of information move on-line, broadband is an increasingly vital tool for households and businesses. It is also an increasingly important means of accessing services and promoting social inclusion in isolated rural areas.
“I recognise the frustration felt in some areas where people are unable to obtain a satisfactory broadband service. Accessibility, reliability and speed of broadband connections are issues of concern for stakeholders, and for people living and working in many rural areas throughout the north.
“The Next Generation Broadband project will address these issues in some areas by bringing higher speed broadband to them by 2011. I welcome that my Department has been able to support the initiative and I look forward to hearing of the many benefits that it will bring.
“At the same time, in bringing forward the Rural White Paper, I remain committed to doing what I can to address inequality of broadband speeds and availability in other areas and will continue to work with others to find viable solutions.”