A POLITICIAN campaigning for speedier broadband in rural Ayrshire said her recent meeting with BT was ‘positive’.
MP Cathy Jamieson met the communication giants in Westminster to highlight problems faced by people in Kilmarnock and Loudoun who can’t get access to the broadband speeds they need.
She said: “I highlighted the problems being faced by constituents who can’t get access to the broadband speeds they need for business, education and leisure purposes. I know that there are challenges , particularly in the rural areas, but we must do everything we can to meet them.
“The model being adopted for Northern Ireland looks like offering a way forward, and I will continue to press the case for Ayrshire to get a fair share of Government funding for broadband, particularly if this can bring in private sector investment. “
Meanwhile BT’s Scottish director hinted that further investment in Ayrshire super-fast broadband could be on the cards if the people of the county grasp a “historic opportunity”.
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said full benefits of the high-speed technology would only be achieved by a partnership approach between the private and public sectors.
His appeal comes on the day that the success of the first major faster broadband private and public sector partnership in the UK was announced.
Eighty five per cent of businesses in Northern Ireland now have access to fibre optic speeds several times quicker than those previously available following a £48 million initiative by Northern Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and lead partner BT.
Brendan Dick said: “The success of the Northern Ireland project demonstrates what can be achieved when organisations work together, combining their expertise and resources. Ayrshire, too, has an historic opportunity to develop a scheme which will benefit local businesses and households for decades ahead.
”As in parts of Ayrshire, Northern Ireland has rural areas where the engineering challenges and costs are considerable. But we worked together to roll-out faster broadband far more quickly and more widely than would have been possible without a partnership approach.
“Private and public sector partnerships are essential to make sure that consumers in predominantly rural parts of Ayrshire can also reap the social and economic benefits of high-speed networks.
“BT has already announced plans to make super-fast broadband available to more than 215,000 homes and businesses in Scotland. But some of our more challenging, less populated locations – including parts of Ayrshire – will require the public and private sectors working together. We are very willing to make a further major investment if we can work with the public sector to create the right environment.”