£350m Project Stratum investment to transform connectivity in rural NI
Northern Ireland’s fastest growing full fibre broadband provider, Fibrus, has been selected by the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver Project Stratum, which will see £350 million invested to bring full fibre broadband to premises across regional parts of Northern Ireland.
Project Stratum will radically transform broadband connectivity by extending gigabit capable full fibre broadband infrastructure to approximately 79,000 homes and businesses across Northern Ireland none of which have access to meaningful broadband services. Fibrus has said that Stratum will help ensure that every home in the region will have access to full fibre broadband by 2025.
Fibrus Chair, Conal Henry welcomed the conclusion of the procurement process and is looking ahead to delivering full fibre broadband across Northern Ireland. He said:
“This £350 million investment, supported by the Executive and our partners at Infracapital, heralds a digital transformation in Northern Ireland. Full fibre broadband is key to unlocking the full potential of NI as a whole and in particular our regional and rural communities. It enables towns, villages and rural communities to realise their economic potential, keeps communities connected and it is now rightly regarded as an essential utility in the same way as light, water or heat.
“The benefits of full fibre broadband are more relevant now in a Covid context than ever before.”
The Project Stratum contract was formally signed this week after a rigorous procurement process. The Northern Ireland Executive, through the Department of the Economy and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is committing £165m to the initiative.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds MLA said the award of the Project Stratum contract to Fibrus will transform the connectivity of Northern Ireland and help to deliver a post Covid economic recovery. She added:
“The investment of £150million by my Department, combined with £15million from DAERA and the investment by Fibrus in the project, will deliver gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to more than 76,000 premises in the intervention area. My Department will work closely with the supplier and, through continued engagement with DCMS, will deliver infrastructure to serve all premises in the target intervention area, including those not currently in scope, as soon as possible.”
Conal Henry outlined the investment Fibrus has already made and what additional benefits these investments will bring to rural communities. He continued:
“We have already brought Hyperfast Fibre Broadband to South Down, Mid Ulster and North Antrim, at an investment cost of over £65million. The Stratum project and the associated partnership with the NI Government will accelerate and extend that roll out to even more towns across the province.
“As well as hyperfast speeds, uninterrupted streaming and no buffering for customers, our work will also create 200 new direct and a further 300 indirect jobs for the areas in which we operate. This is a huge opportunity for people living and working in there, particularly at a time when many may have lost jobs due to the pandemic. We look forward to meeting more of the people we will be serving and growing our specialist team.”
Conal concluded: “This investment is a milestone for Fibrus, for Northern Ireland and more importantly, for rural communities across the region.”
For more information on when full fibre broadband will be coming to rural areas as part of Project Stratum, visit www.hyperfastni.com.
Fibrus is currently live in Dundrum, Castlewellan, Newcastle, Ballynahinch, Warrenpoint, Killyleagh, Magherafelt and Maghera. To find out if you can get connected visit www.fibrus.com or call 02890993230.