£150m has been allocated to the project as a result of the Confidence and Supply Agreement, along with additional funding of £15m secured through the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
This brings the total amount of available funding for Project Stratum to £165m to help deliver substantial enhancements to Internet connectivity across Northern Ireland. Broadband coverage across the intervention area may also be extended through industry investment to ensure that as many premises are served as possible.
The Department has published its response to a public consultation on the proposed intervention area for the £165m project, which seeks to improve connectivity for those unable to access broadband services of 30 Mbps or greater. The intervention area has been determined following an Open Market Review (OMR) exercise carried out through June and July 2018, followed by the OMR State aid public consultation, which ran from the start of December 2018 to January 2019.
The report can be found at: Extending broadband across Northern Ireland - Project Stratum
Since publication of the above report the Department has been informed of a data refresh exercise undertaken by some infrastructure suppliers which completed in January 2020 and which has, along with other updates, had an impact on the intervention area. Upon receipt of the updated supplier data the number of premises requiring intervention under Project Stratum will be reduced. The revised number is just below 79,000 premises and an Addendum to the OMR can be found at: Extending broadband across Northern Ireland - Project Stratum
In addition, a postcode checker is available on nidirect at: Check if your address might get better broadband
The project is at mid-procurement stage. Following a data refresh, the deadline for the submission of tenders was extended to 5 May 2020. The evaluation of bids, along with BDUK State aid Quality Assurance, will be conducted prior to further governance protocols and approvals. Contract award is anticipated in late September 2020.