Quinn welcomes £5m rural broadband boost

Councillor Padraig Quinn
Councillor Padraig Quinn

SINN Fein Torrent Councillor, Pádraig Quinn, has welcomed the announcement from DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill that another £5 million will be spent in order to connect more rural areas to the internet.

Ms O’Neill’s Department is investing the money to target areas that currently cannot connect to fixed wire broadband, and putting in place the infrastructure required to allow third party companies to offer a broadband service to people in rural ‘not spots’.

Speaking following the funding announcement, Cllr Quinn said, “I welcome the fact that the Minister is living up to her pledge to connect rural areas to the Internet.

“Today the internet plays a major role in people’s lives whether it is educational, recreational or even shopping, and all areas should have the ability to connect to it.

“It is also crucial in attracting inward investment into rural areas that they have a modern high speed connection for businesses to use.

“Many rural communities, like my own in Derryloughan, Killeen and Brocagh, do not have connectivity or live with really slow Internet speeds, so the announcement of another £5m investment is very welcomed news.”

DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill said, “I am committing £5million to the delivery of broadband that will be used exclusively to target rural areas of high deprivation across the north that currently have no fixed wire infrastructure to access broadband.

“I hope that this funding will stimulate companies supplying broadband to get out into rural areas and use this infrastructure to provide access for rural dwellers and businesses to use broadband. I want this investment to stimulate rural businesses and give rural dwellers a wider access to services via the internet.

“This brings the total investment to over £7.5m from the Department of Agriculture so that everyone, whether rural or urban can have access to the latest Internet.”