A GROUP of rural residents have revealed how shockingly slow internet connections has left them feeling cut off from modern life.
Living in what can only be described as an Internet ‘blackspot’, residents in Aghyaran and the surrounding area
are faced with a daily struggle of sub-par internet and non-existent connections.
For one resident in particular, Anne McNamee, a lack of internet of any kind has left her feeling isolated.
“Where I live, there isn’t a hope of getting internet of any kind” she said. “It simply doesn’t work, despite switching providers and trying new boxes.
“An old school dial-up connection isn’t even an option. It is awful. My phone reception is also incredibly bad. These days, internet is as essential as electricity and water, and it’s something we don’t have.
“Both my sons have jobs that require an internet connection and constant access to email. They have had to move as they had enough of it,” Anne continued.
“We have voiced our concerns to BT, but they don’t listen. According to their system, we should get internet – but the reality is very, very different.”
Anne’s plight mirrors that of numerous residents in the locality. Theresa McMenamin, who lives near Anne, is paying above and beyond the average to get a basic internet connection.
“I can get internet, but it is provided by EE and it could be a lot better,” Theresa explained.
“It’s also much more expensive than BT, and there is a limit of 100 GB, which soon gets used up if the family are around.
“I often find myself paying for extra data. It gets frustrating and costly after a while, and speeds are very poor.
“As well as this, I have taken the EE box to Anne, and it hasn’t picked up any internet at all. She is worse off, but it is frustrating that we are faced with these issues through no fault of our own.
“Internet providers must think rural individuals don’t want, or need, decent internet.
“We need it as much as anyone else, if not more.”
Commenting on the issue, Derg Sinn Féin councillor Kieran McGuire is hoping to ensure rural Castlederg receives its share of funding from a £150million broadband boost for the North.
“The DUP and Tory government have secured £150million to boost the broadband network,” he said. “We have been lobbying hard to ensure broadband speeds are boosted and it is imperative we get a chunk of this money.
“We have also set up a broadband working group with a view to ensuring rural areas get much needed internet. In this day and age, what we are putting up with is unacceptable.”