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Derry~Londonderry in pole position on broadband as City of Culture draws near

Press Release   •   Oct 23, 2012 00:00 BST

Derry, Tuesday 23rd October 2012: One year after the completion of the major fibre roll-out in Derry-Londonderry, BT, the principal partner of City of Culture 2013, has announced that take-up of high speed fibre broadband is very strong in the region. 

BT’s figures demonstrate that a number of Northern Ireland exchanges are amongst the top locations in the UK that are experiencing the highest demand from consumers and businesses for fibre broadband, and Campsie in Derry is in the top 10 in the UK.

The extensive roll-out of next generation broadband technology is a key commitment that BT announced in January 2011 as part of its five year, multi-million pound partnership of the City of Culture 2013. It also builds on BT’s £30 million investment in the Northern Ireland Government’s Next Generation Broadband Project, which it delivered on time and on budget on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Commenting on the announcement Frank McManus, BT’s Head of Wholesale Sales and Services said: “Derry City continues to have first mover advantage as the only city in the UK and Ireland to have 100% of street cabinets fibre-enabled. Fibre broadband opens up a whole new, high speed world. Digital technology is fundamental to how we live and work and in an increasingly connected world; high-speed communications will become even more essential in the years ahead. The fibre broadband that is in place in Northern Ireland will underpin the local economy for many years to come – and we’re keen to work with communities and government stakeholders to see how we can continue to push fibre even deeper into rural areas.”

Sharon O’Connor, Chief Executive, Derry City Council said: “It is no surprise that demand for high speed broadband is strong in Derry. The transformational technology delivered to the city and surrounding areas is a superb foundation that is helping us realise our ambition to be a creative and digitally connected hub. The fast tracking of the development of broadband infrastructure in the city in time for City of Culture 2013 has provided us with an opportunity to shine on the world stage.”

Mark Nagurski, Digital Derry, said: “The infrastructure that is now in place throughout the city has allowed events such as the hugely successful CultureTech to lead the way forward for the city’s digital revolution. Digital is a lot broader than the tech industry. It covers education, elements of healthcare and tourism and of course culture. Superfast broadband is imperative for the city to improve performance, boost productivity and growth and 2013 will hopefully see businesses becoming more comfortable with breaking digital out of the tech field and incorporating it into all areas of their infrastructure.”

Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said, “Superfast broadband has opened up opportunities to businesses in the city. Everyone recognises the importance of super-fast broadband, not just for its contribution to the local economy and potential to create new businesses and jobs, but for every aspect of modern life.

“In the current economic climate, the investment that BT has made has been greatly welcomed and for the City of Culture 2013 it means we can now freely exchange cultural experiences in an enriched way across the globe. But longer-term it’s also essential that people and organisations take up this exciting technology and make the most of the new network.”


Editor’s Notes:

- While the vast majority of premises in Derry City will be able to access fibre-based broadband, a small number of premises will not currently be able to receive fibre services for technical reasons such as some customer lines are a long distance from a fibre cabinet or the line is routed directly from an exchange (area in close proximity to an exchange) and not via a fibre cabinet. Alternative broadband variants are available over BT lines and will also provide fast broadband speeds.
- The Next Generation Broadband Project is a pioneering initiative delivered by BT on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment. BT initially invested close to £30 million in the initiative, with a further £16.5million coming from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) and the EU under the ERDF Competitiveness Programme. Also £1.5 million has been invested from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) under the EU ERADF Rural Development Programme. This has since attracted a further investment from DARD, DETI and BT totalling some £4 million.