Disgruntled internet users in the Mid Ulster area are complaining in their droves about poor coverage and the negative effects on business and family life.
The gripes, which have been made to local MLA Sandra Overend, are from households still waiting to have broadband installed, and from those experiencing slow connection speeds.
The UUP representative said her Moneymore office had received a spike in complaints over the past two weeks.
“The complaints highlight the shortcomings and inconsistencies in our current broadband network and the problems this causes to local people”, she said.
She called the situation ‘unacceptable’.
“Much of our lives are reliant on internet connectivity, such as social interaction, e-health platforms, and running businesses, particularly from home. We are being pushed more towards to the internet to complete tasks that we use to do by hand, including VAT returns and social security claims, and yet the internet service needed for these is, for many, still non-existent.”
She went on to warn that the internet problems were having a detrimental effect on the local economy. “It is clear that there are parts of the current internet infrastructure in Mid Ulster which rely on outdated cables and theses require upgrading, particularly for the residents of rural areas who are more affected, with their internet speeds often lagging behind those in live in towns.
“This is simply not good effort, given that much of our lives are reliant on being connected to the internet. I firmly believe the Economy Minister needs to take the lead in infrastructure investment, as access to a good broadband service will drive forward our economy in Mid Ulster, and will benefit the current and future generations.”