Northern Ireland Pledges Additional £1m For Rural Broadband

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Government promises more funding to help Northern Irish rural businesses and residents make the most of superfast broadband

The Northern Irish government has pledged an additional £1 million to improve access to superfast broadband in the country.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said the funding would be used to help tackle rural isolation and ensure businesses and farmers in less built-up areas would benefit from the same opportunities as those in urban locations.

Northern Ireland broadband

Belfast Northern Ireland“I will invest a further £1million from the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) budget to facilitating access to broadband for more isolated areas in our community,” she said. “I also want to encourage all representatives of rural bodies and individuals interested in the development of their local community.

“Broadband provision is about more than tackling isolation, however. It is fast becoming a basic service and need for our rural communities. From children doing research for homework, to parents working or shopping online or interacting with Local and Central Government, and with businesses now more than ever trading online in a global market place, it is imperative that rural areas are not disadvantaged when it comes to broadband provision.”

More than 200,000 people are connected to superfast broadband services in Northern Ireland, with the devolved government, EU, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT investing a combined £23.7 million to improve access to remote and rural areas of the country. The latest phase will bring superfast speeds to an additional 45,000 premises by the end of the year.

In total, more than 2.4 million homes and businesses have been connected as a direct result of government broadband projects like BDUK.

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