Discrete Superfast Reconsultation

Closed 15 Aug 2022

Opened 1 Jul 2022


Project Stratum is a broadband intervention scheme managed by the Department for the Economy, developed to improve connectivity for premises unable to access broadband services of at least 30 Megabits per second. When Project Stratum deployment concludes in early 2025, it is expected that previously identified eligible premises will be able to access Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband (capable of delivering download speeds of at least 30 Mbps), except for some particularly difficult to reach premises which are surrounded by bodies of water.

A number of premises were not identified as eligible due to claims made by infrastructure providers about NGA coverage that has either changed or which have not been substantiated sufficiently. Further premises were not identified as eligible due to there being insufficient data held by the Department regarding them.

The Department now wishes to identify eligible premises to ensure that any cost savings that may arise through Project Stratum, such as removing derelict premises, or from other sources, can be used to connect eligible premises that will benefit from an NGA broadband connection.

Further funding will be required to include additional premises in the intervention. If the Department is able to secure additional funding, it may not be able to secure it for all identified eligible premises.

Why your views matter

The Department is requesting information and supporting evidence in relation to NGA broadband infrastructure within the project area, and wishes to hear from all interested stakeholders (including residents, businesses and broadband infrastructure operators), particularly in relation to areas to be targeted as part of the NGA intervention area.

This Public Review sets out an area that was identified as eligible or was placed Under Review following the previous public consultation. DfE recognises that a significant amount of time has passed since the original public consultation and there may have been significant changes to providers’ plans. The proposed additional intervention area is to enable interested stakeholders (including the public, businesses, internet service providers and broadband infrastructure operators) to comment on the proposals. In particular, this provides an opportunity for broadband infrastructure operators to review DfE’s mapping to ensure that they have no further information relevant to determining whether an area is eligible.

What happens next

Following any responses received to this State aid public consultation by the closing date of 15 August 2022, DfE plans to publish the final Intervention Area maps shortly after the close of the consultation period.

This is expected to be followed by dialogue with the contractor to explore whether these areas can be included as part of Project Stratum.

Information about the Project Stratum can be found at www.economy-ni.gov.uk


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