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Sinn Féin to meet BT & DETI over broadband provision

9 September, 2008

Sinn Féin to meet BT & DETI over broadband provision

Sinn Féin MP MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew has said that local Sinn Féin representatives will be meeting BT and DETI to discuss BT's failure to provide adequate broadband provision across South Tyrone.

Ms Gildernew said:

"In order for rural areas to compete for high tech industry we need a fast reliable broadband network that can meet the growing needs of industry."

"While recognising the efforts of DETI & BT to achieve 100% availability, a recent door-to-door survey carried out by Brantry & Eglish Cumann activists has highlighted massive gaps in the fixed line provision in that area. This leaves them dependent on erratic and expensive satellite access which suffers from relatively low connection speed, in fact, much of the fixed line service in the area delivers speeds lower than that which the OECD define as broadband.

"There has been much discussion about the economy and how it is going into recession, but whilst we face difficult times we still need to invest in our infrastructure. A failure to invest will have a direct impact on job creation, particularly in rural areas such as the Brantry which have suffered from a legacy of underinvestment.

"Out of 890 wards The Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS) ranks the Caledon ward as the 11th most deprived in respect of proximity to services, something which adequate broadband access could help to alleviate. Its importance is illustrated by figures recently provided by BT which show broadband uptake in the Benburb exchange area to be extremely high at 52%. All the more amazing when you consider that 25% of those in the Brantry who have tried to get broadband are unable to do so."

"If we are to attract major investment in high tech industry and if we are to meet the needs of people who work or study at home and the local many community projects and businesses in the area then we need to see greater investment to ensure equal access to broadband services at an equal cost.

"I welcome this meeting with BT, who hold the DETI contract to deliver 100% broadband access, to discuss their plans for the future and the opportunity to create a relationship between local activists, elected representatives, DETI and BT so that any developments are tailored to meet the needs of the economy and the local population." ENDS

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