(re-profiled into Basic Services)
The LAG Board agreed to progress an Expression of Interest (EOI) process in June 2018 to identify if any potential interest in community pilot projects, pending further details of the proposed Government Broadband funding of £150 million earmarked from the ‘Confidence and Supply Agreement’ in 2017.
The Expressions of Interest process included pre-application workshops delivered jointly with the Rural Basic Services Scheme (Call 3). Three Expressions of Interest were received by the deadline. One of these was ineligible and the other two opted to progress alternative funding via the Gigabit Voucher Scheme.
Government Broadband Funding
An independent report on the potential economic impact of fibre broadband was launched in June 2018. The report ‘Deployment of FTTP in Rural Northern Ireland’ estimated benefits to the NI economy of £1.2 billion for a subsidy of £150 million. It indicated a rural focus of the funding and targeting of not-spots.
The Department for the Economy subsequently confirmed the project name as ‘STRATUM’ to reflect the need for layers of technology to deliver broadband in rural areas. A list of intervention areas was published in December 2018 which included postcodes where broadband speed is under 30 Mbps. The deadline to identify missing postcodes was 14th January 2019. Further information available at https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/consultations/extending-broadband-across-northern-ireland-project-stratum
In December 2018 the LAG Board agreed to re-profile the Broadband budget in light of the above funding which will target rural areas. The Mayor and LAG Chair issued a press release to promote awareness of the Project Stratum consultation deadline. See link to press release here. http://www.derrystrabane.com/Council/News/Public-urged-to-check-broadband-speed-information