A new report from CBI chaired NI Broadband Industry Forum on the deployment of the £150 million broadband fund for Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Broadband Industry Forum believes that using the £150 million funding to deploy ultrafast broadband in the largely rural areas lacking high speed connectivity would support Northern Ireland’s ambition to be the leading UK nation for connectivity.

This report makes a series of recommendations:

  • 100 Mbps should be deployed in Northern Ireland in areas receiving less than 30 Mbps
  • the networks deployed should be future proofed which means that fibre will be a large part of the solution with other hybrid technologies to support uneconomic/hard to reach communities
  • private investment should support the funding and this should be transparent and subject to audit in the process
  • the industry believes following procurement the deployment of the £150 million will take up to 3 years
  • consideration to be given to the as yet unawarded Broadband USO supplier(s) and the successful supplier(s) deploying funding broadband contract(s).
  • consideration to be given to other sources of funding to ensure colaboration with local authorities to maximise the £150 million investment in broadband deployment
  • a single point of contact to promote good communication and collaboration across NI
  • the skills and training shortages in the construction and telecoms industries in Northern Ireland needs to be addressed