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£5M pledged to help rural broadband access

A £5 MILLION investment in broadband coverage should help improve online access across South Armagh and other rural parts of the Province.

The issue has long caused a headache for local residents and businesses, with many of the latter claiming they are disadvantaged when it comes to online sales and export opportunities due to poor coverage.

Now Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced a further £5m investment in broadband for rural areas in Northern Ireland.

Ms O’Neill said the funding would target areas of deprivation.

It will be focused on those areas that currently cannot connect to fixed wire broadband.

She said it would also establish the infrastructure to allow third party companies to offer a broadband service to people in rural “not spots”.

Ms O’Neill said she hoped the funding would “stimulate companies supplying broadband to get out into rural areas”.

“This investment will bring my department’s total investment in rural broadband to £7.5m and will hopefully in the future see many of the some 37,000 rural premises that don’t have access to fixed wire broadband getting connected,” she added.

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