More still to be done to improve broadband speeds

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Six per cent of properties in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area remain unable to sign up for broadband speeds over 10 Mbit/s - the speed required to meet a typical household’s digital needs.

That’s the finding of Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2016 Northern Ireland report – an in-depth look at the state of the Northern Ireland’s telecoms and wireless networks - which reveals that across the province some 63,000 homes and offices (8 per cent of properties) remain unable to sign up for broadband speeds over 10 Mbit/s.

This year’s Ofcom report shows good progress on the availability and take-up of communications services, which are crucial to people’s personal and working lives. However, the report finds there is more to do, particularly in boosting mobile and broadband coverage, and improving the quality of service provided by telecoms companies.

According to the report, just one per cent of properties in Lisburn and Castlereagh are unable to receive a basic download speed of at least 2 Mbit/s, while three per cent are unable to receive a download speed over 5 Mbit/s.

Those figures are slightly worse than those for Belfast, but much better than rural areas such as Fermanagh, Omagh and Mid Ulster.

Jonathan Rose, Ofcom Northern Ireland Director, said: “Mobile and broadband coverage continued to grow this year, but too many people and businesses are still struggling for a good service. We think that is unacceptable.

“So we’re challenging mobile operators to go beyond built-up areas, and provide coverage across the UK’s countryside and transport networks. Today we’ve also provided technical advice to support the government’s plans for universal, decent broadband.”