£17m to improve speeds for 38,000 premises in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland was one of the earliest areas to see extensive investment in fibre based broadband (FTTC) and all the previous spending has delivered fibre based broadband to 93.7% of premises, but the rural nature of large parts of Northern Ireland means that at present only around 72.8% are able to enjoy superfast speeds (cable coverage is 26.6%).
The DETI and the DCMS has announced investment of £7m each with an additional £3m from BT to increase the availability of superfast broadband to another 38,000 premises.
There are around 500 cabinets and exchange only lines that comprise the final 6.3% with no access to an affordable fibre based solution at this time so while we would expect many of these cabinets to see a FTTC based roll-out hopefully a little more FTTP and fibre to the remote node will be deployed to resolve the clusters of premises at long distances from their existing cabinet.
In terms of existing broadband speeds in Northern Ireland, the mean speed was 23.8 Mbps in February 2015, 10% recorded a download speed of 1.3 Mbps or slower and the fastest 10% saw speeds of 52.7 Mbps or faster (median 16.7 Mbps - 7.3 Mbps in Feb 2013 and 15.2 Mbps in Feb 2014). At the time of the last General Election the mean download speed was 3.3 Mbps (median 2.6 Mbps).