Northern Ireland is to get a £5 million investment to boost broadband speeds in rural areas.
The region’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) confirmed that funding will target areas of deprivation in rural areas.
The investment will target areas that presently can’t connect to fixed wire broadband. The funding will enable companies to offer broadband to customers that were unable to get it before.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to Rural Broadband
Agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill said that the money should allow infrastructure to be put into place and “stimulate companies supplying broadband to get out into rural areas and use this infrastructure to provide access for rural dwellers and businesses to use broadband.”
“I want this investment to stimulate rural businesses and give rural dwellers a wider access to services via broadband,” she said.
“This investment will bring my Departments total investment in rural broadband to £7.5m and will hopefully in the future see many of the some 37,000 rural premises that don’t have access to fix wire broadband getting connected.”
Northern Ireland already has the fastest broadband in the entire UK, according to figure from telecoms watchdog Ofcom. As reported by Recombu, figures from Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2012 show that the average download speed in Northern Ireland is 14.4Mbps, above the overall UK average of 12.7Mbps.
The area is also the best-connected region of the UK. Compared to the UK average of 65 per cent, a staggering 95 per cent of homes and businesses in Northern Ireland can access broadband services that deliver speeds of more than 30Mbps.