A £20 million investment in the province by telecoms giant BT is set to bring a major expansion of ultrafast broadband to towns across Northern Ireland the firm has claimed.
The project, which will also bring more than 40 new jobs, will see a further 140,000 premises gain access to ultrafast broadband.
The rollout, which is scheduled to be completed by March 2019, will predominantly involve the deployment of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology, which is capable of providing ultrafast broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps – fast enough to download a two hour HD movie in twenty five seconds or a forty five minute long HD TV programme in just five seconds.
The investment complements current joint investment programmes BT has underway with the Northern Ireland government, and when combined, will result in nearly a quarter of all premises having access to ultrafast broadband.
“We’re delighted to be investing at this significant level, delivering against our local ambition to futureproof our Northern Ireland infrastructure and rank favourably amongst the best fibre networks in Europe,” said Mairead Meyer, managing director of networks for BTNI.
“Through our current investment programmes, 25% of homes and businesses in Northern Ireland are scheduled to have access to ultrafast broadband by March 2019.
As in previous investment programmes the new project would unltiamtely benefit everyone, Ms Meyer said.
“We’ve been sharing our fibre broadband vision with key stakeholders and today’s announcement is ultimately about driving choice and competition in this market because the network is available on an open wholesale basis to all broadband providers, meaning households and businesses will benefit from a choice of services, competitive pricing and products.”
As part of the programme, the company is to recruit 42 apprentices and graduates, over the next 10 months, who will undertake a variety of roles in designing, planning and building BT’s Northern Ireland network.