Stuart Monk - Fotolia

Northern Ireland gets £150m for ultrafast broadband roll-out

Two-year broadband funding package is part of UK prime minister Theresa May’s deal with the DUP

Northern Ireland will receive £150m from the UK government over the next two years to support the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband across the country.

The funding is part of the deal struck between Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and prime minister Theresa May, which gives Northern Ireland £1bn to spend on roads, broadband, health and reducing poverty.

The deal, which enables May to stay on as prime minister after failing to win an overall majority in the general election, means that, in return, the DUP will support the Conservative government in all budget and Brexit votes. The two parties will not enter into a formal coalition, however.

The agreement means Northern Ireland will receive a £150m boost for broadband over the next two years, according to a document detailing the financial support given by the UK government. 

“Both the UK government and the executive recognise the integral part digital infrastructure, in particular, plays in opening up new opportunities for growth and connectivity, both for businesses and consumers,” the document said.

“In Northern Ireland, despite the increase in the availability of superfast broadband and mobile services, challenges remain. The UK government will therefore contribute £75m per year for two years to help provide ultra-fast broadband for Northern Ireland.”

The £1bn financial package also includes £200m a year for infrastructure development across Northern Ireland, as well as funding to improve healthcare.

“These measures will reflect the joint commitment of the UK government and Northern Ireland executive to support growth and infrastructure development in all parts of the UK,” the document said.

Northern Ireland is already part of the government’s nationwide scheme to roll out superfast broadband, through the country’s £17m superfast roll-out programme – a joint investment by the Department for the Economy and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT.

Read more on IT for government and public sector