Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan said it’s hard to believe that DETI are carrying out a consultation exercise, to identify ‘not-spots’ and weak areas for access to broadband - online.
The Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA comments came following the publication of an initial list of postcodes where DETI believe people are unable to access broadband faster than 2Mbps has been published.
Phil Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee said:
“How you can find out areas that do not receive broadband or are weak by conducting a survey online is beyond me.
“This consultation will not work if it is solely an online exercise. DETI need to be more proactive with this process and engage with local councils and elected representatives, as well as community and voluntary organisations to help paint a fully informed picture of the current situation.
“The focus has to be to prioritise those areas in greatest need in any future funding interventions.
“We are all aware of the importance of high speed broadband for everyone in our community and there has been significant progress in the role-out of broadband in recent years thanks to investment from the Executive.
“However, there are still many gaps in rural areas, particularly in places like West Fermanagh, where the level of broadband availability is very low. This is evident by both the lengthy list of affected postcodes and those that are missing from the list.“These gaps in provision are unacceptable and those affected communities need to ensure that they respond to this consultation so that their postcode is added to the list."