Imagine having the opportunity to work from home five days a week, and for more money, but because of the absence of reliable broadband it’s not possible.
That’s the situation Drumsurn man, Ian Mullan, has faced for eight years. Ian and his wife, Christina, from Terrydoo Road have tried just about every possible way to get hooked up with broadband, but with little success.
“My broadband woes have been here for numerous years, and we’ve been trying to get fixed line broadband in Terrydoo since 2007/8,” said Ian, an IT professional.
“We have had our local councillors fight for us to try get and get broadband through BT, but that’s not going to happen simply because we are too far away from the street cabinet.”
Ian said they have tried alternative solutions with other providers, “some good, some bad”.
“We’ve been trying to manage those so I can do my work from home, which isn’t possible at the present moment with our current solution. Had I fixed broadband here at Terrydoo I would be able to work from home five days a week.”
The couple say their neighbours have the same issues.
“We just want the basic, fixed line broadband. That’s all people in the country want,” said Christina.
The couple, who have two children, say basic broadband is all they’re looking for.
“In this current time, people are receiving BT Infinity, and that’s being upgraded in some areas to super fast broadband,” said Ian. “All I’m after is ADSL, or something that is reliable so I can work from home. If you go to any of the homes in this area they will tell you the same story. My plea is provide a fixed line broadband in this area. We’re at the end of three street cabinets in this area, and I know by introducing a street cabinet at the Terrydoo/Ballyavelin Road you service a large number of homes. It’s nuts. I’ll be retired by the time this is resolved.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Brenda Chivers, lives in Drumsurn. She has been campaigning on the issue since 2008 and has called on BT and other providers to hold an information evening in the area. She said people in rural areas deserve equality.
A BT spokesperson said: “The current roll out of the Northern Ireland Broadband Improvement Programme is operationally complex. The cabinet located at Drumsurn Road/Ballyleagry Road, which serves Mr Mullans’ address, is fibre enabled, however, due to the distance from his premises fibre connectivity is not possible at present.”
The spokesperson said some activity is planned to improve broadband services in the BT49 0 area, but it’s important to note there is no guarantee everyone will be able to access basic or faster broadband services in the area. The spokesperson said BT officials had met with residents and elected representatives in Drumsurn before, and would be happy to do so again.