17/07/2019

£165m Broadband Project 'Will Do Wonders' For Business

A business chief has welcomed the launch of a £165 million broadband rollout scheme in Northern Ireland.

Angela McGowan, NI Director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said the project will work wonders for firms struggling with slow internet speeds and facilitate a significant boost in productivity.

Funded by the Confidence and Supply Agreement, Project Stratum seeks to improve connectivity for those unable to access broadband services of at least 30 Mbps.

98,000 premises, particularly in rural areas, are anticipated as eligible for potential intervention.
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Announcing the launch of the procurement, Permanent Secretary Noel Lavery said: "The additional £150million broadband funding allows us to build on the broadband connectivity achievements to date, given that some 108,000 premises have benefitted from recent interventions. I do recognise, however, that there remain many rural areas across Northern Ireland where broadband access remains unsatisfactory and that this is continuing to have an impact on citizens and businesses within our rural communities. The roll-out of Project Stratum, including additional assistance of £15million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, will help ensure that more people than ever in rural areas have access to good quality broadband."

A list of the premises eligible for inclusion is due to be published soon.

Ms McGowan praised the development as a step forward for businesses that rely on the internet. She said: "Extending ultrafast broadband connectivity across Northern Ireland will do wonders for businesses struggling with sluggish speeds, which have a knock-on effect for productivity.

"Last year the CBI set up the Northern Ireland Broadband Industry Forum, working closely with industry providers and the DfE to ensure this broadband improvement project will bring significant economic benefits to both households and the business community. 

"With further industry support and investment, this project will deliver infrastructure that is fit for the future and could potentially benefit the local economy to the tune of £1.2 billion."



(JG/CM)

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