South Down Sinn Féin MLAs Emma Rogan and Sinead Ennis have both taken part in a meeting this week with the communications regulator Ofcom to discuss issues facing homes and businesses getting high-speed broadband in South Down.
In a statement Sinead Ennis MLA said;
‘It is clear that South Down has a massive issue with obtaining good high-quality broadband right across the constituency. The issue affects mostly rural areas of South Down with many residents and businesses have contacted our offices on a regular basis to express their dismay at the problems they are facing over lack of broadband coverage. Currently South Down is the second worst region in the North of Ireland for broadband coverage.’
‘This is a very serious problem, broadband isn’t just something used for individuals and for personal use, businesses need to have access to high-quality broadband to be able to compete and perform well against their competitors and it worries me that South Down businesses big and small are at this disadvantage right away. This problem businesses are facing I feel will discourage larger companies from locating in South Down and seriously hurts our local economy as we can’t encourage large amounts of jobs to be established in the area.’
‘Areas like South Down are increasingly neglected and overlooked when it comes to improvements and upgrades, this is completely unacceptable, and it leaves many especially those living in rural areas to feel like second-class citizens.’
Also, in attendance was Emma Rogan MLA who is also a Sinn Féin representative for South Down, she commented;
‘Myself and Sinead have had a very productive meeting with the communications regulator Ofcom, we feel that it is totally necessary that we make sure that South Down receives a massive improvement in the speed and access of Broadband.’
‘In recent months the Department for the Economy has announced that it will be making a £150 million investment into broadband coverage in the North of Ireland. I have made it clear before that a large portion of this investment must be put into South Down.’
‘Living in a rural area myself I know how bad the issue can get, it puts off many young families living in areas that are blackspots for broadband and it also hurts house prices. We as part are committed to ensuring that high-speed broadband is rolled out across the north with preferably the investment being made into creating high-speed fibre cables.’
‘We will also be meeting with the Permanent Secretary for the Economy to make sure that this investment is made’.