Cookstown’s broadband blackspots targeted

New broadband for district
New broadband for district

BT has promised broadband to hundreds of rural homes and premises in seven notorious telecommunications blackspots in the Cookstown and Magherafelt districts.

The work, which involves creating small broadband exchanges in remote areas, is expected to be completed by the end of December.

Local residents and businesses have long complained about the impact of being left behind in the broadband revolution of the last ten years.

With many areas in Mid-Ulster depending on copper wire – rather than fibre optic – and telecommunications to and from exchanges more distant in the case of urban areas, internet connections are achingly slow.

A total of seven blackspot areas will be targeted by the improvements, which will be part-funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to the tune of £19.3m.

For some areas, even when improvement work is complete, there is no guarantee that everyone will access basic or faster broadband services, a spokesperson for the departments warned.

Depending on where you live, the broadband scheme should allow access to basic broadband in areas which have no service; access to broadband in areas which have some service; choice of a supplier from several competing broadband companies in areas which have superfast broadband and other services such as video on demand or subscription television. Superfast broadband speed is more than 24 megabits per second.