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Northern Ireland pushes for 100Mbps superfast broadband

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (opens in new tab) has discussed a recommendation to push forward a Broadband Connection Vouchers Scheme at a Community Committee Meeting.

Underneath this programme, businesses would be able to apply for grants of up to £3,000 to get connected to internet speeds of up to 100Mbps.

To date, such Vouchers have only been available in Belfast and Derry and are funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS (opens in new tab)).

Last month, the scheme was opened up to 50 cities across the UK and the Department allocated £40 million to share between SMEs.

The programme was also offered to every council in Northern Ireland and SMEs in Fermanagh can now apply for connection vouchers.

Fermanagh and Omagh Council will enter into a service level agreement with Belfast City Council (opens in new tab) to deliver the scheme locally with an initialisation charge of £8000 to cover costs.

The £40 million funding will be shared on a first-come first-served basis with 50 other cities including London and Manchester until the scheme ends in March 2016, or the money runs out.

For economic growth

“The overall aim of the voucher scheme is to stimulate economic growth and help existing SMEs overcome the cost of installing high speed broadband, but also help improve the overall fibre infrastructure and to make the region a more desirable location to invest,” a Council document says (opens in new tab).

“The scheme is demand led and following an internal scoping exercise with businesses across the district, it is apparent that there is demand for the connection voucher scheme to be rolled out in the Fermanagh and Omagh District,” it adds.