Foster announces rural broadband improvement scheme

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster has announced an investment to improve access to broadband in rural areas across Co Down.

North West Electronics, which has previously received assistance under the Broadband Fund, will extend its existing fixed wireless network to offer a range of broadband services to business and residential customers in areas across the provience, including Down and Armagh.

Welcoming the winning proposal put forward by North West Electronics, Arlene Foster said: “This investment is continued evidence of my Department’s commitment to ensuring that all areas of Northern Ireland have access to superfast broadband services.

“There are areas of Northern Ireland where a fixed line solution is not possible for technical and commercial reasons. The Broadband Fund enables local businesses to demonstrate how a range of technologies can deliver broadband services to rural users.”

This investment will result in the construction of 40 network access points in prime locations across Northern Ireland. The project will make use of the Project Kelvin infrastructure to use fibre to increase speeds to the areas of need.

The Minister added: “On completion by March 2012, this project will deliver access to broadband services of at least 10Mbps to business and residential premises, in areas where access has been limited.

“It is vital that higher speed broadband services are made as widely available as possible, enabling those living and working in some of the most rural locations to benefit from high quality, affordable broadband access.”