Telecoms giant BT is on course to roll out super-fast broadband to customers across Northern Ireland — but urged the public sector to support its “bold step”.
BT last week unveiled plans to invest £1.5bn in fibre optic cables, giving up to 10 million UK households access to faster broadband.
The plans would bring 40% of homes in reach of an ultra-fast service by 2012.
BT is also planning to put fibre-optic cable into about one million homes, making the service even faster for those customers.
However, the communications group has made clear it will only make the move if regulator Ofcom allows it to get a decent return on that investment.
Chris Clark, CEO of BT in Northern Ireland, outlined the company’s plans for the province.
"We are keen to invest further we are keen to invest further in Northern Ireland so it's important that the public sector works with us to ensure the funds are directed here,” he said.
“This is a bold step by BT and we need others to be just as bold. We want to partner with people who share our vision for the next phase of the broadband revolution. We want to work with public bodies to decide where and when we should focus our deployment.
“Our aim is that urban and rural areas alike will benefit from our investment so this is a big opportunity for all parts of Northern Ireland."
BT says the announcement marks the UK's largest ever investment in super-fast broadband.
Much of the UK is already set to receive advanced copper-based broadband services of up to three times the headline speeds currently available for most homes and businesses.
Fibre-based super-fast broadband will give customers enough speed to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications.