The Ulster Famers’ Union has welcomed Ofcom’s decision to separate Openreach from the BT group saying the creation of a new stand-alone company, and the opening up of the network to competitors, will offer more choice and give fresh hope to those in rural areas.
“For some time now the UFU has been pressing for the issues around broadband to be addressed and highlighted in its manifesto, for the new Northern Ireland Assembly, the importance of wider fibre broadband to facilitate both the Government’s ‘e-drive’ and to assist with economic and social development,” said said UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson.
“Making Openreach independent and transparent is a positive response to public and industry concerns.
“The decision can only be of benefit, as it has the potential to deliver a better service, broader coverage and faster speeds.”
Many rural households continue to be significantly disadvantaged with poor or non-existent broadband access, he added.
“Rural areas need reliable and better quality broadband coverage. With government and commercial services moving towards online delivery it’s vital every household, regardless of location, has equal access to high-quality broadband in order to remain competitive and socially connected.”