Foster announces completion of Next Generation Broadband Project

THE Next Generation Broadband Project, which will deliver high speed broadband to the Lisburn area, has been completed on time and on budget, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced.

“Over £52million has been invested in the telecommunications infrastructure as part of the project, which involved the introduction of new technology to increase broadband speeds, primarily for businesses users, across Northern Ireland” the minister said.

“This is a tremendous asset for Northern Ireland. Use of these new services will help local businesses increase their productivity, improving the competitiveness of the economy as a whole.

“The project was designed to deliver on the key Programme for Government objective to ensure 85% of businesses in Northern Ireland would have access to next generation broadband speeds by 2011 and this has been achieved and encouraged BT to make further substantial investments in Northern Ireland.”

“Significant investment has been made in pushing fibre optic technology deep into rural areas across Northern Ireland. There are few, if any, parts of the British Isles which have anywhere near the amount of fibre deployed in Northern Ireland and particularly to our rural areas.

“As well as providing better speeds for our businesses, benefits are spilling over for residential users as well and the early take up figures show our society is ready to embrace new technology.

“I recognise there are still some areas that require attention, but this project leaves a legacy which allows us to build on in the future.”

Graham Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer, BT Northern Ireland, said: “Fibre-based broadband is being rolled out at pace across Northern Ireland, and by March 2012, at least 89% of all phone lines will be connected to a fibre-enabled street cabinet. This is exceptional progress, propelling Northern Ireland ahead of major European countries, and providing more and more consumers and businesses in rural and urban areas with access to high speed broadband services.”