BT is to invest millions of pounds in a fibre-based broadband deployment in Northern Ireland, the company and the nation's enterprise minister, Arlene Foster, announced on Monday.
According to BT and Foster, the investment will, over the next year, see fibre-optic connectivity brought to more than 780 street cabinets, bringing the total of such cabinets in Northern Ireland to over 2,400 and the total percentage of phone lines connected to a fibre-enabled cabinet up to around 88 percent.
"This is a very significant investment that once again positions Northern Ireland as a broadband leader and one of the best connected areas in Europe," Foster said in a statement. "Telecoms is undoubtedly one of Northern Ireland's crown jewels and it is a key element of the Executive's plans to build a modern, efficient, infrastructure."
The latest investment is part of BT's overall £2.5bn next-generation broadband rollout across the UK but separate from a Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) deal, announced at the end of 2009, to provide a minimum of 10Mbps to all of urban Northern Ireland.
The fibre rollout announced on Monday is similar to another one launched in January, when BT said it would have Derry hooked up to 40Mbps uplink speeds and 10Mbps downlink speeds by the autumn.