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FFNI consortium awards Fibrus £23m contract for next generation connectivity

Announcing the £23million contract to deliver next generation connectivity across Northern Ireland are (from left) Billy McClean (Northern Ireland area development lead for Building Digital UK), Dominic Kearns (Fibrus) and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council chair Cathy Mason. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

TELECOMS provider Fibrus has been awarded a £23 million contract to deliver critical digital infrastructure on behalf of the Full Fibre Northern Ireland (FFNI) Consortium which, when completed by December, will see 900 public-sector buildings connected to a hyper-fast broadband service.

The FFNI consortium is made up of 10 councils outside Belfast and the Business Services Organisation (BSO), and is led by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The project aims to expand the high-speed fibre broadband footprint in the north, having secured funding from the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport through the Local Full Fibre Network and Rural Gigabit Connectivity programmes.

Following the award of the contract, full fibre ‘gigabit capable’ broadband is now being installed in council buildings, community centres, fire stations, GP surgeries and health clinics across Northern Ireland.

The aim of the project is to improve digital transformation and use these public sector hubs to stimulate the acceleration and wider roll-out of faster more reliable broadband to nearby residential and commercial properties through separate commercial investment plans.

UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “This broadband boost shows our plan to build back better is delivering for people and businesses, and I am thrilled to announce we will allocate £23 million to replicate its success in every region in Northern Ireland.

“The upgrades will push down the throttle on internet speeds at thousands of homes, businesses and public buildings, and thanks to our £1 billion deal with mobile operators, people will have access to fast and reliable connectivity on the move too.”

Fibrus chief executive Dominic Kearns said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this significant contract and its objectives directly align with ours – extending full fibre infrastructure into as many areas of NI as possible.

“Delivering this critical infrastructure to all these council and public sector buildings allows us to extend the network further into the surrounding homes and businesses that are in much need of our services.

“We are committed to playing our part in delivering the policy objective of achieving ubiquitous full fibre coverage as set out by the Government and this project will help bring that one step closer.”

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council chair Cathy Mason added: “This project demonstrates the value of collaboration across public sector organisations. Full fibre will supercharge our digital capacity and help deliver the best possible services to businesses and residents across district.

“The investment from DCMS will also unlock considerable economic value in our district and across the north, whilst making it easier for suppliers to provide full fibre to nearby businesses and residential properties, so the positive impact will be even more far reaching once complete.”

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