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“Get north coast connected” – Sugden

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Ethernet cable on blue surface

EAST Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has requested clarification on which rural areas on the north coast will benefit from a new superfast broadband project.

The £165m “Project Stratum”, funded by the Department for the Economy, will enable around 80,000 homes in rural areas of Northern Ireland to access improved internet speeds.

There is a tool where you can see if your address falls within a “white zone” – areas where internet speeds in excess of 30mbps cannot be accessed. In a question to the Minister of the Economy, Ms Sugden asked for a breakdown of where the technology would actually be improved.

“Rural areas have always lagged behind towns and cities when it comes to being able to access fast, reliable and consistent internet access,” Ms Sugden said.

“With more people now working from home it’s essential everyone has the technology to do so properly.

“Families are also using streaming and downloading services more than ever before, and if, because of COVID, people are staying at home more than before, access to these services becomes more important.”

The tender process to find a broadband provider to carry out the project is ongoing, but expected to be completed by the end of September.

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