BT has pledged to invest £30m in the government’s Next Generation Broadband project in Northern Ireland, launched today by enterprise minister Arlene Foster.
The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are also stumping up £18m with EU backing.
According to Foster, the 18-month project will deliver on the key Programme for Government objective to ensure that 85% of businesses in Northern Ireland will be able to access next generation broadband services,with minimum speeds of 10Mb/s (2Mb/s in rural areas) downstream by 2011.
“At a time of economic slowdown when private sector companies are scaling down their investments, this multi-million pound injection in our infrastructure has the potential to indirectly create up to 1,000 additional jobs per annum,” she said.
“There are few, if any parts of the British Isles which will have anywhere near the amount of fibre that is going to be deployed in Northern Ireland,” she boasted.
Fibre optic cable will form the backbone of the investment,with fixed-line solutions being used where appropriate. Over 180 exchanges will be upgraded over the course of 2010.