£165m NI broadband improvement contract awarded to Fibrus Networks Ltd

  • Project Stratum, which aims to bring next-generation broadband services to premises across Northern Ireland’s rural areas, will be delivered by Fibrus Networks Ltd.

    This is to help improve broadband speeds and connection to areas of NI which are currently unable to access speeds of 30 megabits per second or greater.

    The project represents a £150m investment by the UK government, allocated to the Department for the Economy as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

    This comes alongside £15m by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, as well as a substantial investment by Fibrus in network build costs.

    The investment is intended to deliver gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to more than 76,000 premises in the intervention area. 

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    Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “After a competitive and very robust procurement process, I am pleased to announce that the contract has been awarded to Fibrus. This announcement means that we are one step closer to bringing next generation broadband services to those businesses and people who need it most.

    “Fibrus proposes a full fibre solution, capable of offering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second to almost 97% of premises in the target intervention area. Deployment of the new infrastructure is expected to commence immediately and implementation will run until March 2024.

    “While always recognised as important, the pandemic and restrictions we have all had to live under have underscored the importance of broadband connectivity. Project Stratum will transform the broadband connectivity landscape for many of our citizens and businesses across primarily rural areas of Northern Ireland.”

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    Fibrus Chair Conal Henry added: “In South Down, Mid Ulster and now in the North Antrim area we have already invested £65m to bring full fibre broadband to regional towns.

    “The Stratum project, in partnership with the NI Government, brings the total investment in Fibrus’ network over the next four years to £350m, radically accelerating and extending full-fibre broadband to those that need it most. Today's announcement is a milestone for Fibrus and for Northern Ireland.”

    The UK government has previously announced its plans to provide gigabit-capable broadband to the whole of the UK as soon as possible, which Project Stratum is a part of.

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    Source: Written from press release

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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