Faster broadband roll out to Mid Ulster towns

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Further improvements to the broadband infrastructure is expected to be rolled out to new locations including Cookstown, Magherafelt and Dungannon over the next year.

Welcoming the news DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said the network access provider Openreach (BT) have announced that their multi-billion pound ‘Fibre First’ rollout of Gigabit capable ‘Fibre to the Premises’ broadband ISP technology will be become available over next 12 months.

The development is part of the on-going work to cover four million premises - homes and businesses - with ‘full fibre’ FTTP across the United Kingdom by March 2021, which could be extended to 15 million by around 2025 and they may even go beyond that if the conditions are right,” he said.

“The DUP recognised the need of improved broadband provision and this announcement is in addition to the ensured extra money that was secured through our Confidence and Supply Agreement.

“This resulted in £150m being invested, to ensure broadband services are improved in approximately 98,000 premises.

“I am also pleased to note that following continuing discussions and meetings that Project Stratum is progressing well and an additional £15m has also been secured through DAERA.

“This follows clarifications received through Her Majesty’s Treasury that the funding profile for the project can be extended across the four-year period required for full deployment.

“It is down to DUP delivery through Confidence and Supply money that this project is now progressing to this stage.

“We are reliant on broadband for business and social needs and we acknowledge the clear need for everyone to have access to adequate broadband speeds.”

Mr Buchanan said a good broadband service should not be a luxury for only some parts of Northern Ireland in 2019 and there was a pressing need for it in rural areas.

He added: “We aim to improve connectivity to current business within Mid Ulster and encourage new investment by improving the rural fibre infrastructure network throughout not only Mid Ulster but the whole of Northern Ireland.”