Project Stratum

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Project Stratum aims to improve broadband connectivity by extending Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure to approximately 11 per cent of premises across Northern Ireland that cannot yet access NGA broadband services. This equates to up to 100,000 premises.

Funding 

£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.

Current progress

The project team has successfully completed a number of significant milestones ahead of commencing the procurement process, including development of an Outline Business Case, the launch of an Open Market Review (OMR), along with State aid public consultation to help determine the intervention area, and a robust Pre-Market Engagement exercise with potential suppliers.

The first stage of the procurement process commenced in mid-July 2019, whereby potential bidders are required to complete a Selection Questionnaire.

Full details of the intervention area for Project Stratum, in the form of the OMR Report will be released in the coming weeks, following final clarifications and State aid quality assurance from Building Digital UK (BDUK) at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

We anticipate that OMR Report will be published at the end of November, followed by the second and final stage of procurement.

Further updates will be provided in due course.

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