Community fibre partnership brings ultrafast broadband to Loughgall

CLOSE to 90 homes and businesses near Loughgall have recently benefitted from Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) scheme.

It means the community can now access ultrafast Full Fibre broadband over the Openreach network.

Residents in the Derryloughan, Ballymagerny, Fernagreevagh and Derrycrew Roads of Loughgall previously were experiencing slow broadband speeds, meaning making video calls or working from home had become increasingly difficult.

However, with the completion of Openreach’s ultrafast Full Fibre broadband build, the community can now access ultra-reliable, future-proof broadband making working, playing, studying, or steaming much easier.

News of the Derryloughan CFP project has already spread to the neighbouring Annahugh and Ballyhegan areas leading to a second project aiming to get up and running.

Openreach’s CFP scheme aims to work with communities who are not currently included in any private or publicly financed gigabit capable broadband rollout plans to bring ultrafast Full Fibre broadband to homes and businesses in the area.

Openreach has a joint funding plan in place, which means it contributes some of the costs and the community pledges their Government Rural Broadband Gigabit Vouchers to cover the rest. Openreach will then build ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network to the area.

The second CFP project in the Annahugh and Ballyhegan areas includes the local St. Oliver Plunkett’s Primary School, and businesses and residents are being encouraged to pledge their Rural Gigabit Voucher so Openreach can build its ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network in the community.

Pete Donnelly, an IT professional who lives with his wife and two children in Loughgall, contacted Openreach on behalf of the residents in the area and with the help of an Openreach liaison, spearheaded the project.

Pete said: “We live in a world where internet connectivity with decent broadband speed is no longer a luxury but now an essential.

“Previously our residents and businesses suffered paltry speeds of around 2.4 MB per second and on many evenings, this would drop to less than 1 Mbps.

“Now, with the successful implementation of the CFP project, we can avail of speeds up 1Gbps per second, which has opened up completely new opportunities. Many residents can now work remotely from home and local businesses can now transact their business online.

“Those of us with children can now benefit from online learning where Zoom, Microsoft Teams & Google classroom now run seamlessly, and buffering is a thing of the past.

“I would encourage all rural communities who have poor internet speeds to get together and apply for the Gigabit Voucher Scheme.”

Speaking about the scheme, Allen Irwin, Senior Funding Manager at Openreach said: “We’re delighted to have been able to work with residents and businesses in the Derryloughan area.

“The 89 premises that form part of the scheme can now avail of ultrafast Full Fibre broadband through their Communications Provider. We’re also very happy that the neighbouring Annahugh and Ballyhegan areas are eligible for the scheme and we’re encouraging all premises, residential and business, to sign up and pledge their Rural Broadband Gigabit Voucher.”

Welcoming the completion of the ultrafast Full Fibre broadband build in the Derryloughan Road area, Committee of Infrastructure member Keith Buchanan MLA said: “Business and social needs are reliant on broadband, and it is essential for everyone to have access to adequate broadband speeds, especially in today’s current circumstances.

“One of the objectives from the government is to ensure Full Fibre broadband is available to every home across the UK by 2025. CFPs, such as this one completed in Loughgall, are helping move us towards achieving this goal and will revolutionise the supply of broadband across Northern Ireland.

“Having worked with Pete and the team at Openreach throughout this process, I am delighted that residents of the Ballymagerney Road area are now finally able to access high speeds to help with work, business, schooling, and life.”

Commenting on the broadband update in Loughgall, local Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor Lavelle McIlwrath stated: “This is a fantastic development, and it does show what can be achieved through the Community Fibre Partnership scheme along with Openreach’s assistance and guidance. The speeds that residents will enjoy through this initiative is significant and the community in the area deserve great credit for taking such a project on and seeing it to completion.”

For more information and to pledge your voucher, visit openreach.com/connectmycommunity and follow the steps.

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