Urban Northern Ireland to get 10Mbps minimum

Urban Northern Ireland to get 10Mbps minimum

Summary: Most businesses in Northern Ireland are to get access to fibre-based next-generation broadband through a joint investment by BT and the NI government


Urban areas in Northern Ireland are set to receive minimum broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second, after BT and the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment announced a £48m fibre rollout.

The speeds will be far higher than the minimum 2Mbps that the rest of the UK, including rural Northern Ireland, is set to receive as a result of the government's Digital Britain plan. BT will put around £30m into the deployment, which is set to be completed by May 2011, after it won a tender for the programme, while DETI will fork out the rest.

"This is hugely significant," Northern Ireland enterprise minister Arlene Foster said in a statement on Thursday. "At a time of economic slowdown when private sector companies are scaling down their investments, this multi-million pound injection in our infrastructure has the potential to indirectly create up to 1,000 additional jobs per annum."

The project will mostly be based on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, which uses fibre-optic cable to connect street cabinets to local exchanges, then uses existing copper connections to hook up homes and businesses to the cabinet. A total of 166 exchanges are to be upgraded across Northern Ireland.

The FTTC approach generally provides speeds of up to 40Mbps, and DETI said in its statement that many businesses would received speeds "well in excess" of the 10Mbps downstream minimum.

Foster said the deployment would see 85 percent of businesses in Northern Ireland receiving next-generation broadband speeds within 18 months. She also said the project would "leave a significant legacy", in that installing fibre now will make future evolutions of broadband easier to implement.

A spokesperson for DETI told ZDNet UK that the rollout would cover two types of areas in Northern Ireland: where business density is less than 10 businesses per square kilometre and there is currently no 2Mbps minimum service speed; and where business density is greater than 10 businesses per square kilometre and there is currently no 10Mbps minimum service speed.

Topics: Government UK, Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • 10Mbps in Northern Ireland through BT.. How much?

    I'm in San Francisco running an IT department. I just sent my CEO a synopsis of how the US telecommunications model pits public interests against the corporate profit model where new technologies, like bandwidth and Internet access, are concerned. Basically, because our telecoms answer to shareholders and their demands for share price valuations, there is little incentive to or momentum to invest in new infrastructure that would allow for higher bandwidth access at all, never mind at reasonable prices.

    I am wondering, how much will these business in Northern Ireland be asked to pay for this 10Mbps service? I'm assuming this service is a shared bandwidth service.

    Currently, we pay about US$360/month for a T1 (1.54Mbps). This issue is current for me because we're over-utilizing our line and I've been researching larger bandwidth options. A 3Mbps/3Mbps shared service (called Business Ethernet) would cost a bit more than US$400/month.
  • This as any other..

    Investment in IT infrastructure, will be completely pointless is peter mandleson's digital economy bill pases, not to mention Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.


  • Business..

    Investment in IT infrastructure, will be completely pointless is peter mandleson's digital economy bill pases, not to mention Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
  • when it comes with power supply you,ll get 150mb/per sec

    YES i know ,its the way the layers work,Well its seems you behind the times? the UL., gov or clowns whichever you want to call them have recently announced that they,ll fund ISP.,s ,to help them stop [downloaders]now whilst i call them i,m always thinking they,ve got a motive for what there doing,I think the following is about too take place? the old depleted IPv4 will dissapear along with dos., and isp will refuse to restrict customers , nowt will happen for a while then the gov., will introduce free new electric meters and broadband with it travelling along the HERTZ the isp,s will become a thing of the past each home will have b/band and big brother online free of charge sez lezlow mark my words BUT THEY MAY RUN OUT OF TIME REM,2012?