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By: MarkJ - 8 January, 2011 (6:38 AM)
northern irelandbt fttc uk superfast broadbandThe Northern Ireland city of Londonderry (Derry) will soon benefit from a new range of "super-fast" broadband ISP services after BT announced that it would spend £3m to help fast track the city onto its new "fibre optic" based internet access platform.

The deal is part of a 5-year partnership with Derry's City of Culture team. Londonderry is officially set to become the annual City of Culture in 2013 and has been busy spending cash on regeneration plans in readiness for the celebrations.

Graham Sutherland, CEO of BT Northern Ireland, said:

"It will take us about nine months to build the infrastructure and make it ready to use. In terms of physical infrastructure alone, we will be spending £3m this year."

According to the Belfast Telegraph, BT hopes to complete its work by the autumn of 2011. The new service will connect 21,000 homes and 6,000 businesses in the city. Apparently the goal is to make Londonderry the first city in Ireland to be totally connected via "fibre-optic" based broadband. However Belfast already has FTTC, although it doesn't reach everybody.

Unfortunately it's not clear whether BT plans to achieve this goal through use of its stronger 110Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (i.e. FTTH ) broadband solution or the cheaper and slower half-way house of 'up to' 40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) technology.

BT is due to release its next round of telephone exchange upgrades for FTTC and FTTP technology in the very near future. The operator has also pledged to help address the local Digital Divide, although it's not clear how they will achieve that, beyond what has already been announced above.
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