Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald highlighted the importance of broadband and mobile phone coverage for rural business development in the Assembly.
Ms Archibald said: “Broadband coverage is vital for future economic development to support both indigenous entrepreneurship and Foreign Direct Investment.
“Telecoms infrastructure along with transport infrastructure and labour costs ranks among the top factors attracting companies to invest here.
“There are particular challenges for businesses in rural areas, including in my own constituency of East Derry, which cannot access broadband.
“In a time when social media is increasingly the method of choice for marketing initiatives and targetting consumers, these businesses risk being left behind.
“There have been several initiatives to extend and upgrade broadband across the north.
“However, we need to have a strategic programme in place to target areas which have no broadband access, and ensure service providers funded to provide access to, and improve broadband coverage, target these areas.”