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Gildernew calls for partnership to improve broadband rural access

23 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has called for partnership to improve rural access to broadband.

Ms Gildernew said:

"BT have now agreed to deliver Internet broad band connections to any exchange where 400 customers can be signed up to the service. This is an opportunity and a challenge to local stakeholders. If local business people, community leaders, and politicians come together to achieve this number of clients we can ensure that we improve rural access to broadband. This model was initiated in Derry by my party colleague Mitchel McLaughlin and has led to the roll out of Broad band throughout the city.

"For some time Sinn Féin have been in discussion with BT to encourage the roll out of Broad Band across the whole of the 6 Counties. We called for a partnership between local political leaders, academics and business people to work with BT to facilitate such a roll out.

"A failure to deliver broad band connections to the West of the 6 Counties exacerbates the infrastructural deficit and perpetuates it into the electronic age.

"The delivery of high speed broad band connections should be seen as an opportunity to place Fermanagh and Tyrone in the mainstream of the high technology economy and to do so despite the lack of provision of road, rail and other infrastructure.

"We have the chance now to develop an electronic community where our citizens are connected to government structures, to commerce and to each other in such a way that this region can be at the cutting edge of the modern digital economy with benefits in both the quantity and quality of future jobs that can be attracted to Fermanagh and Tyrone." ENDS

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