High-speed broadband is to be rolled out to hundreds of homes and businesses in the Ballygawley area that have been plagued by slow internet speeds.
Enterprise Minsiter Arlene Foster announced that the post-code areas BT79 9 and BT70 2 are scheduled for the improvements under her department’s Northern Ireland Broadband Improvement Project.
This will include areas in the townlands of Altanagh, Altnagore, Ballygawley, Ballymackilroy, Cloghfin, Eskerboy, Fallaghearn, Gleneeny, Gortfinbar, Inishative, Killynmorgan, Knockonny, Lisgonnell, Lurganboy, Tanderagee, Tirnaskea and Tullyglush.
“To assist consumers my Department has established an online postcode checker which will enable them to find out when work is scheduled to be carried out in their area”, said the minister. The checker can be found at http://www.online.detini.gov.uk/Broadband/Start.aspx.
In addition, postcodes within the areas above have also been included in the proposed intervention area for the Superfast Roll-out Programme Phase 2, a consultation around which was closed on 26 September.
This project seeks to extend superfast broadband to 95% of premises across Northern Ireland by 2017.
If value for money is demonstrated, a mini-competition will be taken forward, using an existing framework, with anticipated contract award in early 2015.
Currently over 90% of premises in Northern Ireland are connected to fibre broadband.
This is a higher percentage than other regions of the UK.
Colm O’Neill, chief executive of BT Ireland, said: “That percentage puts Northern Ireland ahead of the rest of the UK and most of Europe, which is a good thing.
“However, there are still a lot of people who can’t get fibre-based services and a lot of people still getting very low speeds.”