Belfast Telegraph

High-speed roll out in Londonderry as BT upgrades broadband

By Paul Gosling

Londonderry is the first place in the UK or Ireland to have a rolled-out high-speed broadband infrastructure, BT has announced.

The roll-out is part of BT’s commitment to Derry’s status as City of Culture 2013 and supports the Digital Derry initiative, intended to establish it as the best place in the island to establish a digital business.

All street cabinets in Derry are now upgraded with fibre-to-the-cabinet technology, offering super high-speed broadband connectivity to 39,000 properties. Download speeds of up to 40Mbps are now available, which will increase next year to up to 80Mbps. High-speed broadband is available on an open access basis via BT and its competitors.

Colm O’Neill, chief executive of BT in Northern Ireland, said: “The delivery of this 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.

“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 many of the pioneering projects this exciting city has planned for this generation and the next.”

In a further move to improve the broadband infrastructure across Northern Ireland, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has approved an additional £215,432 to improve broadband access in rural areas. The funding has been awarded to North West Electronics through the £1.9m Northern Ireland Broadband Fund, which is co-financed under the European Regional Development Fund Sustainable Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013.

North West Electronics will extend its existing fixed wireless network to offer a range of broadband services to business and residential customers in the Dungannon, Larne, Antrim, Fermanagh, Down, Armagh, Ballymena and Newry areas.

The project will use the Derry-based Project Kelvin telecommunications infrastructure to increase speeds to the areas of need. Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “There are areas of Northern Ireland where a fixed line solution is not possible for technical and commercial reasons. The fund enables local businesses to demonstrate how a range of technologies can deliver broadband services to rural users.

“On completion by March 2012, this project will deliver access to broadband services of at least 10Mbps to business and residential premises, in areas where access has been limited.”

Belfast Telegraph