A rise in those working from home means an improved broadband service on the island should be a priority, according to Vivien Quane.

The Chair of Lezayre Commissioners says the current provision is very poor in certain rural areas.

Pandemic restrictions saw many working from home.

Mrs Quane said that it’s a huge disadvantage if internet connection is poor.

’As far as I am aware there are a lot of areas, say between Sulby bridge and Ramsey, that do have very bad broadband,’ Mrs Quane said.

’Whether it’s the trees, whether it’s the hills, or because it’s lower down because a lot of it is wetland down there, I don’t know.

’But I have a family down that way that have great difficulty, and I know when the schools were out last year a lot of parents found difficulties for their children to keep doing their exams.

’And the students that came home from university, to finish parts of their university [work] off at home and it’s not working.’

Asked if there were some parts of the parish which do have good broadband, she said that there were but it was ’sort of the central piece that doesn’t seem to have it.’

’And I know Glen Auldyn has great difficulties with broadband as well.’

Manx Telecom just announced that it would be replacing the existing broadband network in a phased programme beginning this month.

It said it will be an enhanced core broadband network which leverages fibre technology, offers significant upgrade in capacity.

Manx Telecom chief executive officer Gary Lamb said: ’The past 18 months has demonstrated how important it is for people to remain connected in an uncertain world where we have all experienced new stresses and strains due to the pandemic.

’This upgrade has been a prioritised as a result of increased demand for broadband, both for work and for leisure over this period.

’It will give us additional resilience and flexibility in how we are able to manage internet traffic in the future, especially in the situation where an unexpected fault occurs.’