£20 million to bring ultrafast broadband to 140,000 premises in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland has some good news today, though until exact details of where the £20 million is to be spent it is not clear what the difference will be.
BT has announced some £20m of investment to expand its ultrafast network to a further 140,000 premises in Northern Ireland and importantly is keen to emphasis that full fibre (FTTP) will be the predominant technology and we believe that some areas will see G.fast deployed. The definition of ultrafast being a connection that is 100 Mbps and faster and the full fibre areas will have Gigabit options once a retailer adopts the wholesale product and capacity to go even faster in the future.
The question around the difference it will make to the overall picture in Northern Ireland depends on which areas the roll-out takes place in, this is because 3 out of 10 premises already have access to ultrafast broadband via Virgin Media and they are expanding their footprint.
There is not going to be too long to wait to find out, as the roll-out is due for completion by March 2019. Full fibre from Openreach is currently only available to 0.8% of premises in Northern Ireland but the pace of the current roll-outs is such that our internal figure is already higher at 0.87% (6,450 premises) and while a lot of that roll-out is in the classical long line scenario an increasing number is exchange only lines at the centre of a town being upgraded or new build clusters.