The UK Government’s ambition is to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible. The Department for the Economy (DfE) recognises that there is a need for Government intervention in the parts of Northern Ireland that are not commercially viable. The UK government has committed £5 billion for the hardest to reach parts of the country, ensuring that all areas of the UK can benefit.
As part of this, DfE is working in partnership with Building Digital UK (BDUK), an Executive Agency within the Department for Innovation, Science and Technology, to develop a procurement approach for funding contracts to suppliers delivering gigabit-capable wholesale infrastructure. BDUK will be allocating the entire capital funding requirement for Project Gigabit NI, with DfE, as the Contracting Authority, managing local project delivery requirements. The procurement approach for Project Gigabit NI will be a successor to the transformational Superfast broadband programme, including Project Stratum.
The goal is to ensure the parts of Northern Ireland that need Government support are targeted. A key step in this ambition is to identify areas which will be left out because they are not commercially viable.