SDLP MLA Joe Byrne has said that the Stormont Executive must be more ambitious in their plans to deliver broadband across the region, especially in rural communities if there is ever to be sustainable and tangible economic growth in the future.
Mr Byrne, who is vice chair of the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, asked DETI Minister Arlene Foster how long it would be until 100% coverage of fixed fibre optic cabling would be achieved in the region. The minister responded that the current programme would entail fixed fibre optic cabling to cabinets and that delivery of such cabling to houses would be expensive.
Mr Byrne stated: “Once again we see a distinct lack of ambition from the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment and its minister.
“This region, especially its rural communities and many businesses within these communities have been extremely let down and continuously failed simply because they are in the countryside.
“This government must be more ambitious and bold if the tangible economic growth needed to benefit the people is to be achieved. I feel that DETI do not fully understand the mass of businesses within areas like West Tyrone, Fermanagh, South Tyrone & Mid Ulster that have been waiting for proper broadband infrastructure and all we are seeing is piece meal delivery.”