Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA recently contacted the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster MLA on behalf of a number of constituents who had contacted him in relation to the lack of provision for superfast broadband in Carrickfergus. As a result of the initial contact, the UUP MLA raised awareness of the situation in the local area adjacent to the Middle Road, Carrickfergus, by way of a petition, in conjunction with local Councillor Andrew Wilson, which was then passed onto the Minister to show the need in the local area.
Roy Beggs MLA said “I was shocked when I was advised that all the surrounding areas of cabinet 29 already have superfast broadband access, but that cabinet 29, which serves a number of houses in the Windslow, Berkley, Finchley, Heston, Hampton, Camden and Richmond area, has not been upgraded. I am aware that a number of the local residents operate businesses from home and a number of other needs were outlined via the petition as to why the area needs the upgrade as soon as possible. There was a strong and unified voice that indicated that the local community want this upgrade to happen.”
Mr Beggs added “I am aware that the Department have just signed a new contract with BT to take forward phase 2 of their superfast rollout scheme, and that £17m has been allocated to the delivery of this project until its completion date of 2017.”
In her response, Minister Foster states that “A number of postcodes in Carrickfergus area, covered by cabinet 29 are included for consideration under this latest intervention.”
Knockagh Councillor Andrew Wilson said “we need to continue to make the case for cabinet 29 to receive an upgrade as part of phase 2 of the rollout scheme. It is positive to note that cabinet 29 is under consideration at this stage for an upgrade. In my opinion, the area should have received a cabinet upgrade in phase one of the project.”
Minister Foster also went on to say in her letter; “However until the detailed planning that precedes each phase of the project takes place, it will not be possible to say which specific premises will benefit from this latest upgrade.”