Mid Ulster council’s Development Committee is to write to the new Enterprise Minister to express ‘dissatisfaction’ at the department’s reply to an invitation to discuss the area’s poor broadband.
Councillors were told on Thursday night [April 14] that a letter to former DETI Minister Arlene Foster was answered by civil servant Alan Preston, who said he could not meet them in June as he was unable to attend evening meetings.
Broadband access is major concern across Mid Ulster affecting both homes and businesses and some areas have even been dubbed ‘not spots’.
Hitting out at the reply, the UUP’s Trevor Wilson, proposed writing to DETI to express the council’s dissatisfaction at the reply, saying: “In other words, evening meetings outside Belfast just don’t happen - this is one of the areas that suffers most with broadband issues.”
Linda Dillon added: “We should invite again. We should maybe give him [Jonathan Bell] the benefit of the doubt - it is very important that he does come down.”
The committee agreed to again write to DETI, inviting Jonathan Bell to Mid Ulster to discuss how he plans to improve broadband in the area.
We should maybe give him [Jonathan Bell] the benefit of the doubt - it is very important that he does come down - Council chair, Linda Dillon
At the same meeting they also gave the stamp of approval to a ‘Super Connected Broadband’ initiative run by Belfast council at a cost of £8,000, that will allow small to medium sized enterprises and social enterprises in the area to apply for grants of up to £3,000 for high-speed broadband connections.
Councillor Monteith said he would also like to see Mid Ulster council lobby on the issue of roaming charges as Europe had done away with them, but government in London and Dublin had decided to allow them to continue.
“For once there has been a decent decision in Brussels,” he said, “and they have ignored it.”