Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster, has announced details of a major £24.5million investment that will see BT deliver improved broadband technologies and infrastructure across Northern Ireland. The project is specifically targeting premises currently receiving no or very low broadband speeds.
“As a result of previous investments by the Executive, many people across Northern Ireland enjoy some of the best telecoms services in the UK. However, there are areas of Northern Ireland where a fixed line solution is not possible for technical and commercial reasons. This means we have more work to do to ensure that everyone has access to broadband services.”
The Northern Ireland Broadband Improvement Project is a collaborative investment of £24.5million by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) under the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the Department of Culture Media and Sport, through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT.
Arlene Foster continued: “I have consistently lobbied for additional investment from both government and telecoms providers to ensure higher speed broadband services are delivered as widely as possible. As we work to try and reach rural areas, the costs to improve services increase significantly so we need to ensure resources are used carefully.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Northern Ireland. It is another significant step in making broadband services more widely available to our citizens irrespective of where they live or operate their business. I sought and I have gained an assurance from BT that these improvements will be completed by December 2015 so that consumers and businesses will benefit from the investment as quickly as possible.”
The Project will begin with an extensive survey and design process that will take a number of months to complete. BT will then begin re-engineering the network, which was designed for telephone calls, and changing it into a fibre rich, open access network.
Colm O’ Neill, chief executive, BT Northern Ireland said: “Today marks a significant step forward in Northern Ireland’s next generation broadband journey and we are delighted to work in partnership with DETI and DARD to deliver leading edge technology to homes and businesses in some of Northern Ireland’s most remote locations.
“For BT, this project represents our on-going commitment to invest in Northern Ireland and help to build a better future for all who live and work here. In delivering these improvements we are once again setting a benchmark for the availability and speed of broadband across the UK, Ireland and Europe.”]]>