Mr Lyons said: “Total additional public funding of £32million will be utilised to extend gigabit capable broadband coverage to reach an additional 8,500 homes and businesses in predominantly rural areas.
“The additional premises include 2,500 harder-to-reach properties that were out of scope of the original contract, plus a further 6,000.
“Funded under the DUP/Conservative confidence and supply deal, Project Stratum represents the largest ever public investment in telecommunications infrastructure in NI, and the project aims to close a broadband connectivity gap that exists here.”
Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots said: “We have all seen during the pandemic how important good broadband is and we are becoming ever-more reliant on our broadband services.
“I am delighted that additional public funding has been secured to deliver gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to more homes in predominantly rural areas.”
The £165million contract for Project Stratum was awarded to Fibrus Networks Ltd in November 2020. By the end of 2021, Fibrus had delivered new infrastructure to more than 22,000 premises.
Conor Harrison, Fibrus chief operations officer, said: “We are proud to be involved in Project Stratum, as it is transforming lives every day.
“The additional funding allows more of the most remote properties to get access to a service that every household needs to stay connected in a modern society.
“By the end of 2025 our hope is that every property has access to proper fibre infrastructure.”