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Dawn of a new digital age as Project Kelvin goes live

A new scheme to help firms exploit Northern Ireland's world-class telecommunications network has been launched.

In 2005, Northern Ireland became the first region in Europe to have 100% access to first generation broadband and Project Kelvin - an underwater cable linking Ireland to North America - means faster broadband speeds for large areas.

Thanks to the new cable, which comes ashore in Londonderry, communications between Ireland and North America are routed directly instead of having to use external networks such as going through London.

Now a new project called Digital NI 2020 is aimed at helping all sectors to identify how the technology can be exploited to secure growth.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered Digital NI 2020 more than £240,000 towards a collaboration by 28 network members including ICT companies, councils, educators, and industry experts.

Over the next two years, Digital NI 2020 will roll out programmes and awareness initiatives across Northern Ireland and will offer businesses and organisations support and encouragement.

Sinclair Stockman, executive director of Digital NI 2020 said: "Our programmes are designed to boost competitiveness and maximise emerging opportunities."

"This hi-tech infrastructure will enable Northern Ireland to be a base for R-amp;D projects, creating employment and investment opportunities."