The global coronavirus pandemic highlights the need for strong broadband connections across Northern Ireland and in rural communities, it's been claimed.
Broadband business Fibrus has pledged a £100m investment as part of its program to bring full fibre cable broadband to regional and rural communities right across Northern Ireland.
The firm says it has also invested heavily in its workforce, growing from four to 40 employees in four months with plans to reach 80 this year and add up to 230 indirect jobs.
Download speeds using the Fibrus full fibre network are up to 17 times faster than the average speed across Northern Ireland, according to the latest Ofcom report.
“Reliable, high speed connectivity is now as essential as electricity and water," Dominic Kearns, chief executive, Fibrus, said.
"Now, more than ever, we all need to stay connected and we feel a responsibility at Fibrus to ensure those living and working in rural communities are not being left behind.
"Thousands of businesses and their employees are now operating from home, trying to ensure work continues as normal. This requires, and in fact relies upon, good connectivity which includes uninterrupted access to efficient broadband.
"Addressing the imbalance in rural connectivity is at the very heart of what we do every day and now is no different. Our build teams are key workers carrying out essential work to ensure families and businesses stay connected at this crucial time.
"We urge everyone to continue to follow the important public health guidelines and stay at home, and we will continue to play our part to make sure people can keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues."