Council Broadband Working Group discusses local issues with DUP Leader

14th June 2018

Members of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Broadband Working Group met with Rt Hon Mrs Arlene Foster MLA at the Townhall, Enniskillen on Thursday 7 June 2018 to discuss the issue of broadband deficiencies within the district.

The meeting was arranged following a request made by the Council’s Broadband Working Group to each of the five main political parties regarding the £150 million allocated to broadband improvements in Northern Ireland as part of the DUP’s confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative Government.

Speaking about the meeting, Chair of the Broadband Working Group, Cllr Bernice Swift, said:

“My colleagues and I facilitated a meeting with Mrs Foster, to highlight our concerns regarding the broadband deficiencies in the district and in particular to seek clarity on how we can ensure that the broadband needs of our Council area are at the forefront of the proposed £150 million investment.  We are awaiting a date to engage directly, with the Permanent Secretary of the Department for the Economy to emphasise the need to immediately commence the public consultation on the investment proposals for Ultrafast Broadband”.

The Broadband Working Group – which is chaired by Cllr Bernice Swift and has ten members; Cllrs Alex Baird; John Coyle; David Mahon; Sorcha McAnespy; Stephen McCann; Thomas O’Reilly; Paul Robinson; Rosemarie Shields and Victor Warrington – was established to lobby strategically for investment in the Council area to redress broadband deficiencies so that all those who wish to have access to a fibre (or equivalent) broadband connection have the ability to do so.

To date, the Broadband Working Group has met with Ofcom, BT and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and has also made formal representations to the five main political parties in Northern Ireland to ensure that the £150 million allocated to broadband improvements in Northern Ireland, as part of the DUP’s confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative Government, will be prioritised for those areas most in need.