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£1.5 million for local broadband ‘not enough’

BROADBAND infrastructure in the Fermanagh and Omagh area is set to get a boost but the £1.5 million funding pledge to improving services has been blasted as ‘nowhere near the investment required.’
£1.5 million funding has been awarded to the Council to deliver full fibre broadband to a number of public sector sites within the district.
Figures released from Ofcom previously showed Fermanagh as the worst off in the North in terms of broadband infrastructure, with many homes and businesses in places like Roslea, Newtownbutler, Belleek and Brookeborough struggling to receive appropriate coverage. 
While the new funding has been welcomed, Councillor Bernice Swift, chairwoman of the council’s working broadband group said ‘it is not the final solution.’
While the funding announcement is actually our share of the collaborative project for the Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) pot which was £15m across 10 Councils, it is nowhere near the investment we require especially given the fact we are the worst area affected in the North. 
“The published OFCOM Connected Nations 2017 report showed that one in five (19%) of premises in our district can’t get decent broadband speed -10 megabits per second. This is no longer acceptable and investment should be reflected significantly to address our problems and needs with ultrafast Broadband to provide substantial enhancements to internet connectivity right across our Super Council area.”
Cllr Swift said the Department for the Economy need to step up and reflect the ‘glaring need in our area.’
“Time and time again, the Department for Economy has heard that the internet is a key driver for economic activity, education, social inclusion and carrying out even the most basic of day to day tasks they need to address this and be accountable. 
“Our citizens now rely on being connected more than ever so it is important they have access to reliable, good quality broadband and mobile connections,” she added.
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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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