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ISP Fibrus Secures Full Fibre Contract for 10 N.Ireland Councils

Tuesday, Jun 29th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 720

Broadband ISP Fibrus has this morning finally confirmed that they’ve won the Full Fibre Northern Ireland Consortium (FFNI) contract, which is valued at £23m and will see the UK operator expand a new gigabit-capable “full fibre” network to connect over 969 public-sector sites (police, GPs, council offices etc.) in “up to” 10 council areas.

The news probably won’t come as too much of a surprise to our readership, as our sources confirmed last July 2020 that Fibrus appeared to have secured preferred bidder status in the process and were thus almost certain to secure the contract (here). The project itself forms part of the UK Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme – Wave 3 (here), which originally pledged to contribute £15m of the investment.

The project is being led by the Newry, Mourne and Down District Councils. Like most LFFN schemes the proposal reflects a Public-Sector Anchor Tenancy model, which is primarily focused upon connecting public sector sites to fibre. However, such networks are often later opened-up so that commercial broadband ISPs can invest in them and thus harness the infrastructure to help reach local homes and businesses.

Given the above, it’s of course worth noting that Fibrus also holds the Project Stratum contract (here and here), which including private funding will see a total of £350m being invested to extend “full fibre” broadband to more than 76,000 extra premises across some of the hardest to reach areas in Northern Ireland (e.g. rural) by the end of 2025. The FFNI deal clearly complements this.

Fibrus CEO, Dominic Kearns, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this significant contract by FFNI. The objectives of this programme directly align with ours – extending full fibre infrastructure into as many areas of NI as possible.

Delivering this critical infrastructure to all these council and public sector buildings allows us to extend the network further into the surrounding homes and businesses that are in much need of our services.

At Fibrus we are committed to playing our part in delivering the policy objective of achieving ubiquitous full fibre coverage as set out by the Government and this project will help bring that one step closer.”

Matt Warman, UK Digital Infrastructure Minister, said:

“This broadband boost for Belfast shows our plan to build back better is delivering for people and businesses, and I am thrilled to announce we will allocate £24 million to replicate its success in every region in Northern Ireland.

The upgrades will push down the throttle on internet speeds at thousands of homes, businesses and public buildings, and thanks to our £1 billion deal with mobile operators, people will have access to fast and reliable connectivity on the move too.”

The original FFNI contract aimed to see deployment of the new full fibre network complete by March 2021, although we’re obviously now some way past that date. As such today’s announcement states that work to complete the new network for public sector sites is now expected to be finished, with “minimal disruption,” by December 2021.

List of the 10 FFNI Councils

Antrim and Newtownabbey

Fermanagh and Omagh

Ards and North Down

Lisburn and Castlereagh

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Mid and East Antrim

Causeway Coast and Glens

Mid Ulster

Newry, Mourne and Down

Derry City and Strabane

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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