Mr Campbell said,
“I took up the issue of how many properties stand to potentially benefit from the full fibre broadband rollout in rural parts of the north-west. This is vitally important as it helps families, existing businesses and those wanting to establish their own business in our rural communities. Twenty years ago broadband availability was miniscule and used more for social contacts whereas now and over the next few years it will become one of the essential tools for businesses of all kinds across the developed world.
In 2017, through the DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement, we secured £150million of public investment that would assist in delivery FTTP broadband to almost ninety thousand rural premises across Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein and others questioned the need for public money to be spent on high-speed broadband for rural dwellers but this intervention has been the most transformative investment for our rural economy since the electricity network was extended.
One of the most startling statistics in the last five years has been the fact that we in Northern Ireland at 82% full fibre broadband is already well ahead of England on 67%, Scotland on 60%, and Wales on 49%. The Republic of Ireland stands at 41%. Maintaining current rates of progress by 2025 will see Northern Ireland as the first country in these islands where availability reaches 99% of our premises.
The rollout of Project Stratum in the Claudy area is planned to be completed this winter. This will enable up to 571 premises in this area to be connected and capable of speeds up to 1000Mbps (1Gbps).