The FFNI Consortium, which is made up of ten councils outside Belfast and the Business Services Organisation (BSO) and led by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council awarded the contract to the Northern Irish telecommunications provider.
Following the award of the contract, full fibre ‘gigabit capable’ broadband is now being installed in a wide range of public sector buildings, such as Council buildings, community centres, fire stations, GP surgeries and health clinics across Northern Ireland.
Improved connectivity became vitally important during the current COVID-19 pandemic, which made online, remote and digital access a necessity and this project will play a pivotal role in boosting public sector connectivity for years to come.
On the project announcement, UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:
"This broadband boost for Belfast shows our plan to build back better is delivering for people and businesses, and I am thrilled to announce we will allocate £24 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 also explained the significance of the contract by saying:
"We are delighted to have been awarded this significant contract by FFNI. The objectives of this programme 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.
“At Fibrus 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."
Speaking at the official launch of the contract, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Cathy Mason added:
This project really 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 across the North of Ireland 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."
The work to deliver the new full fibre network for public sector sites is scheduled to be successfully completed by December 2021.