Openreach, the engineering team that builds, maintains and manages the broadband network in Northern Ireland, is returning as sponsor of the 'Innovative Use of Smart Home Technology' category at this year's Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.
Mairead Meyer, director of Openreach in Northern Ireland, said she was looking forward to the event. She added: "At Openreach, we're committed to working in partnership with the local property sector and we're delighted to return as sponsor of the 'Innovative Use of Smart Home Technology' category for the second year running.
"Last year was the first year that this category was open for entries and the standard of the submissions was exceptionally high so we're looking forward to seeing what this year brings."
Mairead outlined ambitious plans which the company has for Northern Ireland as the firm focuses on staying at the forefront of broadband innovation, bringing better, broader and faster connectivity to the region.
Since it launched its 'Fibre First' build programme last year, Openreach has made huge progress and is determined to build a new network that delivers more than just speed.
Mairead said: "We want to ensure that the region has a reliable and consistent network that can support future data-hungry services and applications.
"All of this is essential for boosting productivity and supporting our position as a leading digital economy for decades to come."
Openreach recently announced a further three locations where it will be building new 'Fibre-to-the-Premises' (FTTP) broadband technology over the next year and a half, bringing the total number of locations in NI to 30. There are now over 205,000 full fibre enabled premises in Northern Ireland, an increase of 156,000 in the last year, and Openreach will have 50% of premises full fibre enabled by the end of March 2021.
Mairead continued: "We also know that home and property buyers want to be connected straight away when they move into a new property and to have access to the most advanced broadband technology available. This is becoming increasingly important as demand rises for homes and buildings already equipped with the latest gadgets and innovative tech.
"As a result, we work closely with those within the property sector at every stage of their journey, from planning and site development, right through the build process, to ensure they get the support they need to meet demand for future proof homes and premises."
For new sites of five or more properties, a dedicated 'New Sites Representative' makes sure the developer knows everything they need to know about building a FTTP network. The team guides property developers through the installation requirements and arranges inspections of the network build to ensure that everything is delivered ahead of customers moving in.
Mairead said: "We are providing the fastest fibre connections possible with speeds up to 1Gbps. We have planned FTTP to 350 new developments over the past 18 months and have currently over 5500 new build homes connected and working on FTTP across a range of service providers. This approach is proving to be highly beneficial for all involved and we will continue to work with all of our partners to bring the latest technologies to homes and properties across Northern Ireland." Contact the New Sites team on 0800 085 7546.