NIBBT Communication Subgroup

The aim of the MAP NI is to ensure the benefits of mobile coverage are maximised in Northern Ireland by working in collaboration with all relevant bodies to remove identified barriers. This subgroup of the Northern Ireland Barrier Busting Taskforce (NIBBT) Oversight Group is chaired by the Department for the Economy and its first meeting took place on 29 June 2023.

MAP NI actions

The subgroup is responsible for three of the actions identified within the Mobile Action Plan for Northern Ireland (MAP NI) working collaboratively to deliver:

  • Action 1: The Department for the Economy (DfE) should lead on delivering a programme of information, in conjunction with industry, to help inform citizens, address any perceived risks regarding new mobile technologies and outline the advantages, opportunities and benefits to the NI economy
  • Action 3: DfE and the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) to consider ways to enhance council and planners understanding of telecommunication and digital technology, for example, through an awareness raising programme for elected members and officers, along with the sharing of best practice from other jurisdictions
  • Action 4: in line with the then Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s recommendations, Northern Ireland councils will investigate the benefits and feasibility of appointing ‘digital champions’ who could act as a single point of contact for mobile network operators and infrastructure providers, businesses and residents and co-ordinate activities within the council regarding telecommunications infrastructure. Councils will gather evidence and best practice on the use of digital champions in other jurisdictions, and their effectiveness in aiding the roll out of digital connectivity. Councils will also work with relevant Northern Ireland departments on these ambitions.

The subgroup activities include gathering information to aid councils considerations around appointing digital champion/coordinators in the eleven NI councils and the production of a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and Communication Plan detailing the programme of communication to be undertaken and its approach to:

  • identifying and documenting the various audiences, assessing, identifying and documenting their information needs regarding mobile technology
  • designing and scheduling a programme of communications
  • evaluating how successful the subgroup’s activities have been.


Timeline of progress:

  • Stakeholder Engagement Strategy developed and signed-off by members on 3 August 2023
  • Communication Plan developed and signed-off by members on 31 August 2023
  • digital champions/coordinators identified by all eleven NI councils on 31 August 2023.

Forward look

The subgroup will look to implement the Communication Plan and deliver associated activities including but not limited to establishing a NI Digital Champion Network structure and processes; and producing and launching a NI Councillor’s Guide to Digital Connectivity.


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