Press release

Northern Ireland allocated £4.4 million for broadband roll-out

Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt announced funding today to help broadband reach all in the country

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Mr Hunt today revealed Northern Ireland’s share of the Government’s £530 million broadband investment fund.

The Northern Ireland Executive has already run an extensive programme to spread superfast broadband access across the country. This has provided 97 per cent of homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband.

The funding announced today will help take broadband to the premises not covered by the existing scheme.

Matching the investment will allow the Northern Ireland Executive to provide everyone with access to at least 2 Mbps.

The Northern Ireland Executive will decide how to use this money to support the roll-out of broadband across the country.

Mr Hunt also announced the Government would look at holding a pilot in Northern Ireland to explore ways of taking superfast broadband to all homes and businesses.

Mr Hunt said:

“Broadband is essential for economic growth and increasingly for our everyday lives.

“I am delighted the Northern Ireland Executive shares our view of the importance of broadband and has provided so many homes and businesses with superfast broadband access.

“Our investment will help provide everyone with decent broadband access and ensure no-one is left behind in the digital age.”

Each country’s funding allocation is based on the cost of taking superfast broadband to those premises that would not receive it from the market alone.  It is not based on the number of people living or working in a country.

The Government wants the UK to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses in each local authority area having access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.

The private sector on its own will take superfast broadband to around two-thirds of UK households and businesses.  Public money is being used to help take broadband to the remaining one third by making it viable for business to invest.

Notes to Editors

  1. Ofcom defines ‘superfast broadband’ as broadband with speeds greater than 24 Mbps.
  2. Pilot programmes to bring broadband to North Yorkshire, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Cumbria and the Herefordshire borders, were launched in October last year.  They were followed by a second wave of projects covering Wiltshire, Norfolk and Devon & Somerset, which were announced in May.

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Published 15 August 2011