Northern Ireland councils win £14m to boost broadband speeds
Two Northern Ireland regions have won UK Government investment totalling £14m to boost broadband speeds and increase digital connectivity.
Belfast City, and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Councils are among 13 areas to benefit from the £190m Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) capital grant programme.
Belfast will receive £11.5m, while Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon's cut will be £2.4m. The funds were confirmed by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday.
The LFFN programme was designed to help deliver the fastest and most reliable digital networks available. A total of £95m was awarded in the first tranche.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Lord Mayor Gareth Wilson said: "The digital economy is one of the most important drivers of innovation, competitiveness and growth for our economy and investment and our infrastructure is vital to delivering success, to connecting people and opportunities.
"By embracing and investing in digital, the potential is huge. From reduced costs, greater efficiencies, improved interactions with businesses and residents, better use of data, greater outcomes and better lives."
The LFFN fund is part of a wider £500m package for digital technology and was first announced in the autumn statement. Mr Wilson's council said the projects funded will enable gigabit-capable connections to key public buildings and businesses, "with the expectation that this leads to broadband providers creating additional connections to local homes and businesses".
Joe Nelson, chairman of the council's economic development and regeneration committee, said the investment would enable business growth.