Londonderry now has the best high-speed broadband infrastructure of any city or region in the UK and Ireland, British Telecom has announced.
All street cabinets across the city have been upgraded with fibre broadband technology well in advance of the city’s status as UK City of Culture.
BT first announced the plans in January after becoming a main partner with the Culture Company in Derry as part of a five-year, multi-million pound deal.
Derry also hosts the telehouse for the £27m transatlantic fibre optic cable project, which links America, via the city, to Europe.
BT experts said the technology will help Derry realise its ambition to be a creative and digitally-connected city, by providing widespread access to superfast fibre-based broadband to consumers and businesses.
The extensive roll-out of this next generation broadband technology will mean that almost 39,000 homes and businesses can now experience download speeds of up to 40 megabytes per second, increasing to up to 80 megabytes per second by next year.
The technology is also expected to drive choice and competition because it is being delivered on an open access basis to allow other broadband service providers to access the network.
Speaking on behalf of the Culture Company 2013, chairman, Martin Bradley said: “The City of Culture designation is a tremendous catalyst for the rejuvenation and regeneration of the city, and we’ve already had a number of key infrastructural developments on the back of this accolade.
“Given the economic climate we have now, it is crucially important that businesses here have every advantage and aid they can get, and having the high-speed broadband connectivity that BT has given us will be a fantastic boost to the local |economy.”
Colm O’Neill, chief executive officer with BT in Northern Ireland, said delivering the ambitious project within a tight timescale involved “vision, collaboration and commitment from stakeholders who shared a common objective to realise Derry’s aspiration to be a digital champion”.
He added: “This next generation broadband network will provide a future-proof foundation to support Derry’s economic, social and cultural aims, and we are proud to be at the heart of these pioneering projects.”
Welcoming the announcement, Aideen McGinley, chief executive at development company Ilex, said: “The One City One Plan One Voice initiative prioritised the digital economy as a game changer in the transformation of Derry/Londonderry, and this has now been fast-forwarded by the accelerated delivery of this broadband infrastructure.”