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OFCOM Report Highlights Failure of DETI Minister to Deal With Rural Broadband & Mobile Phone Coverage

24 October, 2013 - by Phil Flanagan

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has stated that the publication today of the 2013 Ofcom Infrastructure Report has highlighted that failure of the DETI Minister to resolve the issue of rural broadband and mobile phone coverage.

Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, said:

"While this report highlights the welcome improvements that have been made at the top end of the spectrum with superfast broadband, the situation for those without any broadband or mobile phone coverage remains as bad as ever.

"The substantial funding interventions that have been made by DETI to date have largely been focused on providing a high speed broadband connection into areas that already had adequate provision instead of targeting the areas where no broadband was or is currently available.

"This is one of the major failing of DETI's policy with regards to telecoms and one that needs to be changed.

"Under the Minister's watch, the whole issue of rural broadband and mobile phone coverage has been fudged.

"DETI will soon be handing out nearly £20 million of public funding from a variety of sources to providers to improve coverage across the north. The failed policies of the past cannot be repeated.

"The Minister, Arlene Foster, needs to ensure that government funding begins to make its way to areas of greatest need, where people have no access to the most basic broadband or mobile phone coverage instead of continuing to pump millions of pounds of public money into already well served areas."

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