North Antrim Community Network have shared information about Rural Broadband Scheme – Northern Ireland on Facebook. The information outlines a information evening which is scheduled Wednesday 24th August, a venue has not been specified. Read the announcement below:

Mid and East Antrim local action group is holding an information evening for the Rural Broadband Scheme on the 24th August from 6pm to 8pm. Venue to be confirmed upon place reservation.

Funding will be limited to small broadband infrastructure projects led by business clusters which involve innovative community led solutions. To find out further information on the Rural Broadband Scheme and to reserve a place at the information evening call the Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group office on 028 2563 3266.

Rural Broadband Scheme – Northern Ireland

Rural Broadband Scheme - Northern Ireland

Broadband internet is an important tool for any home. In rural areas the lack of internet opportunities is undoubtedly a disadvantage. From students who rely on the internet and online tool to help them with homework and coursework, to government services which are now online broadband has become a necessity – even taxing your vehicle can be carried out online. The Farming Life recently reported on the problem in their article Rural Support seeks answers on Rural Broadband.

Chief Executive Jude McCann said: “This is not what rural dwellers were led to believe they would be receiving. “We had been promised by the government on various occasions that all households and businesses would have broadband coverage, and indeed, that the UK would have the best service provision on Europe.

This announcement undermines this, and leaves rural families and businesses with more uncertainty than ever about when, or indeed if, they’ll get the same services as their urban counterparts.” This announcement follows hard on the heels of new policies from HMRC which will require quarterly tax returns to be completed online and the former Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s push for digital services to be the main mode of communication for customers.

Some of these proposals are to come into effect in 2017, while those without broadband will have to wait four more years before they will be able to request the services which are already available, and will be guaranteed to their urban counterparts.

Dr McCann continued: “We are in real danger here of placing requirements on rural families and businesses before we give them the platform to be able to comply. That is profoundly unfair, and confounds logic and common sense. “Rural communities rely heavily on small businesses and the self-employed and it’s ludicrous to expect them, with their limited resources not to notice the impact of this. In the 21st Century, reliable access to the Internet is an essential component for the running of a successful business. So we’d urgently call on HMRC and others to revisit their proposals and put in place sensible measures to ensure that the process is fair.

Pleas click here to read this article in its entirety. Call 028 2563 3266 to find out more about the information night concerning Rural Broadband Scheme – Northern Ireland.