Deployment of FTTP in rural Northern Ireland

Good connectivity is seen as a major contributor to economic growth and a source of wider benefits from improved home-working opportunities and greater participation in the development of digital services.

There are reasons to expect that measures to increase rural broadband speeds could be particularly effective in Northern Ireland, given the relatively poor availability of high-speed broadband compared with both urban areas in Northern Ireland and other rural areas in the rest of the United Kingdom.

In a report commissioned by BT, we have estimated the benefits of a proposed £150m investment in extending ultrafast fibre broadband to rural areas of Northern Ireland at around £1.2 billion, a return of £8 for every £1 invested. Increased employment would be the largest source of benefit, but there would also be a significant contribution to productivity growth.