A number of County Derry towns and villages are among 94 rural areas that will form part of a fibre-to-the-premises roll out over the next two years.
Network access provider Openreach announced the move as part of their ongoing commercial deployment in Northern Ireland, which aims to reach 525,000 premises by March 2021.
The latest update includes a build programme that will last an extra year, until March 2022, and includes Ballyronan, Bellaghy, Castledawson, Castlerock, Claudy, Draperstown, Dungiven, Feeny, Garvagh, Kilrea, Maghera, Moneymore and Swatragh.
Mairead Meyer, Director of Openreach Northern Ireland, said they were committed to bringing reliable broadband to as many people as possible.
“We are delighted to announce 94 towns and villages today that will be part of our ‘Full Fibre’ build programme and particularly pleased that so many of these areas are in rural communities.
“Ensuring that we’re balanced in our build programme is central to this and our engineers are building to over 750 homes every day in both rural and urban areas.
“We’re hopeful that with continued investment in the ‘Full Fibre’ broadband network, there will be benefits for everyone right across NI, no matter where they live, work or study.
“We’re proud to be building a strong and resilient network that will meet the needs of everyone, now and in the future.”
Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone said broadband issues had come into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Many people have contacted my office over recent months with their concerns about the shortcomings of their internet provision,” he said.
“Those issues have restricted their ability to work from home, keep up with schoolwork through remote learning, keep in touch with friends, and participate in church services online.
“The 1Gbps capable network that full fibre promises will go a long way to address the divide that currently exists between urban and rural broadband provision in Northern Ireland.
“I will be seeking further details from the company on the timescale for the locations they have identified and how far the network will extend.
“The SDLP will continue to work with all relevant agencies to improve broadband accessibility across the North, and to ensure that rural communities are not left behind as new technologies emerge.”
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