Plans to extend broadband service to rural internet users

Pictured at the broadband information evening in Carnalbanagh Primary School is (left to right) Andrew Parkinson of Onware satellite broadband, Cllr Maureen Morrow, Scott McClelland of North West Electronics and Blue box Broadband, and Roy Beggs MLA. INLT 08-614-CON
Pictured at the broadband information evening in Carnalbanagh Primary School is (left to right) Andrew Parkinson of Onware satellite broadband, Cllr Maureen Morrow, Scott McClelland of North West Electronics and Blue box Broadband, and Roy Beggs MLA. INLT 08-614-CON

RESIDENTS who live in broadband blackspots have welcomed plans to extend connectivity in rural parts of the borough that are not covered by landline providers.

A public information event, held at Carnalbanagh Primary School last Wednesday, was attended by over 30 local people who are experiencing difficulty getting a broadband connection.

Keynote speaker at the event was Scott McClelland of North West Electronics (NWE), manager of the largest independent wireless broadband network provider in Northern Ireland. NWE has recently been awarded a Government contract to deliver an extension of rural broadband through a wireless connection.

Mr McClelland gave details on how this wireless broadband service is rolled out in rural areas, what costs are involved and what people need to do to get connected.

Also speaking was Andrew Parkinson from Onwave, who was engaged in January 2012 by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to deliver their satellite remote broadband services solution. Andrew discussed how Onwave’s satellite option can serve wireless blackspots with a fast reliable service.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Maureen Morrow, who also attended the event with UUP MLA Roy Beggs, said: “It had been brought to my attention that connection blackspots in Carnalbanagh, Feystown and Aughabouy were leaving residents at a disadvantage for business, education and access to services online due to broadband availability in these areas being either very patchy or non existent.

“I decided to look into what alternative options were available other than the conventional landline connections. On discovering that NWE and Onwave had been awarded contracts to deliver Remote Broadband Services to rural areas, including the Larne borough, I set about organising a meeting with the help of Roy Beggs MLA to inform residents of the options available to them.”

Mr Beggs said the turnout at the meeting proved that the issue of broadband coverage is high on the agenda for the rural community.

“Hopefully some of the new options now available will prove successful and popular and the promise of 100 per cent coverage will finally be realised. We will be staging a similar event at the Gleno Young Farmers’ Club Hall on Friday, March 2 at 7.30pm and I am confident there will be a similar level of interest,” he added.