Ten councils in Northern Ireland, outside Belfast, including Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey have been working closely to create and build the Full Fibre Northern Ireland Consortium (FFNI).
The consortium believes that the future of telecommunications infrastructure in Northern Ireland is vital to economic growth.
Currently around 44% of premises in Northern Ireland have access to full fibre connectivity.
FFNI’s aim is to expand high-speed fibre broadband to ensure Northern Ireland has “available and affordable connectivity to support future growth and prosperity”.
It is expected that by connecting public sector sites, it is likely to make it easier for suppliers to make full fibre available to nearby business and domestic premises.
The procurement of the fibre infrastructure is currently underway to identify bidders for the project by mid-June.
Councillor Gregg McKeen, chair of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Borough Growth committee, said: “Our residents and local businesses depend on us to deliver high quality public services and having connectivity is essential to that.
“The public sector has to keep pace with what technology can offer local communities and not be left behind by other regions who recognise the value of full fibre broadband.”
Cllr Paul Michael, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, stated previously: “Investing in connectivity is essential for economic growth and prosperity and will help to further establish both the borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey and all of Northern Ireland as a digital destination for investment, jobs and business infrastructure.
“This is an excellent example of local councils working together for the benefit of the whole region.”
FFNI secured £15m of Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) funding from the UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport last March.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.
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