DARD Minister Meets BT to Discuss Broadband Concerns
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has met with BT to discuss a range of issues concerning broadband availability in the rural north.
Speaking after her meeting with BT Chief Executive Colm O’Neill, Minister O’Neill said: “Everyone is well aware of my interest in the lack of rural broadband and I was glad to be able to take the opportunity of meeting again with Colm O’Neill the CEO of BT Ireland to discuss rural not spots and what BT are doing to address these.”
The Minister continued: “I reinforced the need for everyone to have access to good quality broadband in rural areas. It is now an essential basic service that assists both householders in everyday life and helps rural businesses to grow, develop and prosper.”
The Minister also discussed BT’s ‘Connecting Communities initiative and how DARD may be able to use it to promote use of broadband and IT services in rural areas.
The Minister concluded: “This meeting was extremely useful as it gave me the opportunity to discuss a range of broadband issues with BT. It is important to me that companies such as BT appreciate the impact lack of broadband has on the rural community.”
DARD intends to invest £5million in rural broadband through the Rural Development Programme over the next two years.