Broadband scheme a game changer for area

Clintyclay Primary School and the village of Clonmore is leading the way in a new project to provide ultrafast broadband to areas not normally covered by such plans

Friday, 16th March 2018, 2:51 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 2:55 pm
Local resident Gordon Symington, School Principal Fiona Hampsey, and Head of Wholesale Sales & Marketing, Frank McManus, with pupils from Clintyclay Primary School in Dungannon celebrating the signing of Northern Irelands first Community Fibre Partnership. Pupils (left to right): Saule Dieckute, Cadhla McCann, James McGeown, Matthew Duggan and Clodagh ONeill).

BT has announced that Northern Ireland’s first Community Fibre Partnership will provide access to ultrafast broadband to the school and more than fifty homes and businesses in the area.

It’s hoped the new service will be available as early as June this year.

The Community Fibre Partnership scheme has been set up by Openreach to help communities which are not included in any private or publicly financed fibre rollout plans.

The Community Fibre Partnership will install ‘Fibre to the Premises’ (FTTP) technology and make ultrafast speeds of up to 330 Mbps available from a number of broadband service providers. That’s nearly ten times the UK national average speed. Businesses will potentially have access to speeds of 1,000 Mbps.

Frank McManus, Head of NI Wholesale Sales and Marketing says: “This shows what can be achieved when people work together towards a common goal and we’re proud to play our part.”

BT offers grants of up to £30,000 to help towards the cost of a Community Fibre Partnership with Openreach, wherever the new infrastructure will serve a local registered school or learning establishment that currently has access to slow broadband speeds.

Gordon Symington became the Community Lead when he contacted BT last July: “My daughter was studying for her A Level in Computer Science and had to go to the local hotel to log on and do her homework. Our internet access at home couldn’t cope with more than one person going online at a time.

“I contacted the Community Fibre Partnership team and discovered that our community of 50 or so homes was eligible for a BT grant. We also received government funding and didn’t need to look elsewhere for funds. It’s going to be a game changer.”

Fiona Hampsey, Principal of Clintyclay PS, said: “We’re living in a digital world and our pupils haven’t had the same access to digital learning opportunities as children living in urban areas. Faster broadband speeds will offer us so many opportunities and change the way we teach.

“In addition to the computer suite, which is sitting ready to go, we have plans for e-twinning and building links with a school in Europe. Put simply: this Community Fibre Partnership will make a world of difference.”