‘5G celebrations an insult to those with no basic broadband’ – Councillor Byrne

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Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Local SDLP Councillor Pete Byrne has said that the fanfare that greeted the initial rollout of a 5G network is a gross insult to rural businesses and communities that struggle to access basic broadband speeds.

Speaking to Newry Times, he said, “The initial rollout of a 5G network is great if you’re based in Belfast, where you’re likely to already benefit from superfast speeds and access to reliable data packages.



“But the fanfare and celebrations that have greeted this rollout are an insult to rural communities and businesses which still struggle to access basic broadband speeds.

“The digital deficit across the North doesn’t just mean people in rural towns can’t access Netflix.

“It means that rural businesses struggle to access online banking, make digital tax returns or offer the online presence that modern consumers expect as standard.

“It also means that students in places like Slieve Gullion can’t access reliable internet speeds for study or job applications.



He continued, “In an age where online services are a necessity, not an added luxury, it isn’t acceptable.

“Rural communities cannot continue to suffer from this digital divide. It is degrading our economy, our communities and providing further incentive for young people to leave our shores.

Councillor Byrne added, “The Universal Service Obligation commitments simply have not been met in large portions of Northern Ireland. It needs urgent attention and demands local political leadership.”



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