£17million investment to extend fibre in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's Superfast Rollout Programme will extend speedy internet connections to thousands more homes later this year, following a new £17million investment in the country’s broadband infrastructure.

BT, which will be part-funding the latest leg of the projectwith the UK government, has also promised to switch on superfastconnections for thousands of other homes that currently only havestandard broadband, though there have been no timescale set for therollout.

Northern Ireland enterprise minister Arlene Foster said: "TheSuperfast Rollout Programme is another significant step in makingsuperfast broadband services more widely available."

The Northern Ireland Broadband Improvement Project began inFebruary 2014 and is currently in its first phase. The initial£23.5 million investment will push superfast services to 45,000premises by the end of the year. BT's already confirmed that200,000 homes and businesses can already access up to 80Mbbroadband through Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) services.

A recent report by Ofcom said coverage had now extended to 94%of the population, but that figure dipped to 77% for superfastconnections.

BT's Northern Ireland CEO, Colm O'Neill said: "The SuperfastRollout Programme marks another successful step in NorthernIreland's broadband journey, helping to strengthen its position asone of the best regions in Europe for fibre speeds andavailability."

Ed Vaizey, UK Digital Economy Minister added: "Today'sannouncement is fantastic news for Northern Ireland - thisadditional funding will see tens of thousands more homes andbusinesses able to access superfast speeds and will provide atremendous boost to Northern Ireland's economy."

Source: UTV

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