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Next Generation Broadband Project

The Executive in Northern Ireland put together a plan published in The Programme for Government 2008 - 2011 and Investment Strategy 2008 - 2018 to ensure the development of modern, efficient infrastructure which is essential for economic and social development. One of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment's ("DETI") targets in this regard is to "increase the availability of next generation broadband speeds to 85% of businesses by 2011".

On 3 December 2009 it was announced that contract for delivery of the project had been awarded by DETI to BT following competitive tender.

The project’s aim is delivery of high-speed broadband services to 85% of NI businesses by 2011, focusing on both rural and urban areas in Northern Ireland where these services are not available, or are unlikely to be available in the foreseeable future.  To achieve this, DETI's contract with BT will involve the deployment of more fibre optic cable deeper into Northern Ireland’s urban districts, towns, villages and countryside. There will also be upgrades to equipment across 166 exchanges and the introduction of new technology to increase broadband speeds to businesses.

Businesses in areas that will benefit are shown in the map below:

Project funding of £18million, coming from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the EU under the ERDF Competitiveness Programme and the ERADF Rural Development Programme, is levering investment of £29.8 million by BT.

Further details are available from DETI Project Manager, Trevor Forsythe or at

www.fasterbroadbandni.com   .

UPDATE - The final milestone of the Next Generation Broadband Project was completed on 30th April 2011.  The target of at least 85% of businesses in Northern Ireland having access to broadband services of at least 2Mbps in rural areas and 10Mbps in urban areas has now been reached.

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