Broadband improvement needed - McKay

NORTH Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay says more must be done to increase the broadband take-up levels in the area.

He was speaking as Ofcom launched an interactive map giving an overview of Broadband availability and performance.

Mr McKay said: “The broadband take-up in Moyle is lower than any other council area in the north at 47%. Ballymoney is not much better at 59%.

“Broadband infrastructure as well as the widespread availability of Wi-Fi in the services sector, public transport, etc are key economic drivers and not enough is being done to ensure that broadband availability and take-up is higher in this area. There is absolutely no excuse for rural areas being left behind.

“If one takes the example of the north coast, the availability of adequate internet access and WiFi in tourist hotspots is not what it should be and the Department for Enterprise should ensure that areas with overnight accommodation which have high visitor numbers have 100% broadband and WiFi coverage. This will help improve the overall visitor experience and is something that other countries have already advanced.

“The average modem sync speeds are lower than average in the north, and the percentage of households receiving less than 2Mbit/s is too high. The Minister needs to look at how these figures can be improved upon and should not underestimate the impact that poor broadband services has on rural areas such as this.”