Mobile and broadband boost ahead of G8 Summit

Published: 7 Jan 2013 08:36

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which is making preparations for the G8 summit in Fermanagh, is "confident" that there will be "sufficient" broadband and mobile phone coverage in time for the summit.

Roads will also be improved with a £1.1 million investment from the Department for Regional Development (DRD).

Following the news that the G8 summit will be held in the Lough Erne Golf Resort on 17-18 June, the poor communications and road infrastructure was again brought to the fore.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster told the Impartial Reporter that she wanted the event to leave "a lasting legacy" in the county and local businesses hoped to see improved infrastructure.

When asked how broadband and mobile phone coverage would be improved in time for the G8, a spokesman from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) revealed that "the communications needs of the G8 summit will be met by the summit organisers."

He added that "plans are already under way to address their needs." DETI is currently working with the organisers and wider stakeholders "to ensure the event is a success."

He said: "It is too early to comment on possible improvements to rural coverage". He added: "Where possible and practical [DETI] will work to explore were rural broadband and mobile coverage can be improved."

As the UK is host to the 2013 G8, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for organising the event.

An FCO spokesman told the Impartial Reporter: "We are confident we will have sufficient broadband and mobile phone coverage by the time of the summit next year."

Meanwhile, over 300 homes and businesses in Fermanagh responded to DETI's consultation on the provision of a 2MB-per-second broadband service. DETI will open a procurement competition in early 2013 and expects that roll-out "will be taken forward throughout 2013 and well into 2014."

Local roads are to receive a £1.1 million injection ahead of the Summit and the A32 Cherrymount Link road will be finished ahead of the event, a spokesman from the Department for Regional Development (DRD) has claimed.

"Construction of the Cherrymount Link Road between the B80 Tempo Roundabout and the existing Cherrymount Roundabout in Enniskillen, started in October 2011 and although planned independently from the forthcoming event, this will also be completed next year ahead of the G8 Summit," he said.

"Ahead of the G8 summit, Roads Service is already considering traffic management plans focused around primary and secondary routes into and around the area," the spokesman told the Impartial Reporter. "Other capital schemes valued at around £1.1million planned for 2012-2013 will significantly improve links to this area," he added.

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