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Electronic Data roaming charges must be addressed - Anderson

9 November, 2011 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Junior Minister Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has called on the regulatory authorities in Belfast and Dublin to examine ways in which they can eliminate the problems being experienced by people sending and receiving electronic data via mobile phones. Martina Anderson said the costs of cross-border banking, roaming charges and sharing of electronic data via mobile phones is a huge issue in the North West and needs to be addressed. 

Ms Anderson explained:

""Representing a border county, I know the extreme challenges faced by individuals and businesses in both Donegal and Derry in carrying out electronic services transactions.

"The border continues to create financial inconvenciences for families and restricts businesses. It is important therefore that we seriously address the inhibitors to the use of enhanced  electronic services such as e-mail and other internet devices which are now available to for both personal and business use.

"While recent reductions to mobile roaming costs are welcome they fall well short of what is required.  Electronic communications and services have overtaken fixed-line and manual services with the knowledge economy increasingly available through mobile phones. Electronic signals do not recognise borders as experienced on a regular basis with involuntary 'roaming' charges being imposed on unsuspecting users because of a competing stronger signal from the opposite side of the border.

"Such costs are also a major barrier to doing business and creating jobs. In the present economic climate I would hope that more focus would be placed on removing any obstacle to doing business or creating jobs. Sinn Féin has always advocated an all-Ireland telecommunications market. There must be no more profiteering at the expense of people in border regions at a time when we are attempting to develop better linkages and revamp the island economy.

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