16/01/2008

High-Speed Broadband For Belfast Tenants

180 Housing association tenants in Belfast will have access to high speed services following a trial involving new houses on the Ormeau Road.

Economy Minister Nigel Dodd visited the new housing development, on the site of the former North Cricket and Rugby Club, where the homes were part of Department of Enterprise and Investment's (DETI) High Speed Broadband Trial.

DETI, working with the developer, Clanmil Housing, Virgin Media and Bytel Networks is providing infrastructure capable of delivering 20 megabits per second, or greater, broadband services.

Commenting on the trial, the Minister said: "The information and knowledge gained from this trial will help to shape our future strategy for broadband services in Northern Ireland.

"Working with the Department for Social Development and Clanmil Housing on this trial, we now know that high speed broadband can be delivered through fibre optics at a reasonable cost into new housing developments."

The trial specifically looked at the cost, technical and practical issues involved in installing infrastructure capable of delivering high speed broadband.

Two separate infrastructure designs were deployed - fibre to the cabinet and fibre to the home - allowing direct comparison between the two.

Alan McLeod, New Build Development Officer at Virgin Media, said: "As part of our new build programme, Virgin Media is delighted to be working alongside DETI to provide high speed broadband services to the Ormeau Road development.

"We're proud to be contributing to this project to help shape the broadband strategy for Northern Ireland,"

Owen Maguire, Network Development Manager for local company, Bytel, also said: "It has been Bytel's pleasure to assist DETI in the trial, which clearly demonstrates that Northern Ireland’s telecommunications infrastructure is among the best in Europe, and the fantastic potential available to homes and residential developments throughout the Province."

During the visit, the Minister met the tenants and the telecommunication companies to hear about the benefits of high speed broadband, provided by the trial.

(JM)

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