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Northern Ireland announces £1m investment to improve broadband access
Dean White - June 2, 2015

All rural broadband dwellers in Northern Ireland should have access to good broadband, the government has announced.

Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill announced that she is to invest £1m to help improve rural access to broadband.

The Minister said she wanted to encourage as many rural dwellers as possible to connect to broadband to give themselves and their families the same opportunities as those living in urban areas, to help tackle isolation. She said her Department was looking to see how it can actively encourage more and better use of broadband so that rural businesses and farmers can benefit from the wide range of government services now available on line.

She said: “Since I took up the post of Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, I have prioritised providing the services which help tackle isolation in rural areas. Right at the top of this list is the roll out of rural broadband across the north. By the end of March 2015, my Department had invested £7.5m in rural broadband. The initial part of this investment has already seen some 17,000 rural dwellers, farms and businesses getting access the internet, whilst the most recent phase of our funding will enable up a further 14,000 rural people to get connected if they wish.

“I also want to encourage all representatives of rural bodies and individuals interested in the development of their local community, to be aware of the broadband scheme under Priority 6 of the new Rural Development Programme. We have allocated £2m to a Rural Broadband Scheme which will provide opportunities for innovative community-led wireless broadband solutions to enhance access to an improved broadband service in rural areas.”