Belfast Telegraph

Rural area ‘hotspots’ backed by £1.9m fund

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced the completion of two projects supported by the £1.9m broadband fund.

The fund, launched in August 2008, is focused on giving financial support to organisations running broadband technology trials in rural areas.

The minister said: “I launched the £1.9m broadband fund as a mechanism for piloting emerging technologies to keep Northern Ireland at the forefront of broadband evolution and to provide options for rural customers seeking cost-effective broadband solutions.

“The first two projects meet those objectives in full. With £237,000 of funds made available by my Department, North West Electronics has delivered an extensive fixed wireless network across large parts of the rural west offering high quality, affordable business and residential broadband packages to users. Commercial services are already being delivered.”

She added: “I can also confirm a successful outcome to the trials undertaken by Avanti.

“Using existing satellite infrastructure they have been able to demonstrate how reliable 3G mobile services can be delivered into rural communities — a technology first for Northern Ireland.”

The minister said the fund would continue to be used to improve the range and quality of services in rural areas, with new projects in the west of the province in March and April.

Belfast Telegraph