SDLP Downpatrick Councillor Gareth Sharvin has spoken out in support of Broadband United Kingdom which is a government initiative to improve broadband provision across the whole of United Kingdom to include all households and businesses.
Councillor Sharvin said: “I regularly receive reports from local residents and traders about slow internet access or no access at all, and the impact that it is having on them and their businesses. Working with my party’s DETI spokesperson, Patsy McGlone MLA, we believe BDUK is an initiative that has been established within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and it has a number of goals in the lifetime of the current Westminster government.
“However, in summary it wants the UK to have the best superfast Broadband in Europe and also to assist other Government initiatives which are dependent upon a customer’s ability to access Broadband based services.
“Typically the reason for slow broadband (or none at all) over a fixed telephone line is the length of the wire from the house or business to the telephone exchange – the longer the wire the slower the speed, to a point where the broadband service will not work at all.
“The Universal Service Commitment is a policy designed to bring connectivity to those areas still without a basic level of broadband access, which are primarily rural areas such as the coastal villages of Kilclief, Ballyhornan, Ballykinlar and Strangford.”
Councillor Sharvin explained that from his professional background within the IT industry, he understood the essentials needed to provide a customer with internet access. This program involved new fibre optic wiring to a central hub/box, which will aim to provide a minimum of 2 MBps.
He added: “The government is making funding available to Northern Ireland and I look forward to seeing the detail of funding that is available and hope that this funding is directed to rural areas within Down District such as Ballykinlar, Kilclief and Ballyhornan. The internet is more important now than ever and is quickly becoming an essential part of every business.
“It is imperative that all areas of our District have sufficient internet access. I would call on all affected residents to get in touch with myself and the DETI MInister Arlene Foster in highlighting the areas of the most badly affected within the district.”