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March 27, 1989

BRITISH TELECOM WINS THE CONTRACT TO REWIRE ULSTER WITH BRUSSELS BACKING

By CBR Staff Writer

British Telecommunications Plc and Northern Ireland’s Department of Economic Development has won an award of UKP7.25m from the European Regional Development Fund to improve Northern Ireland’s telecommunications infrastructure. The award is part of the European Community’s programme of Special Telecommunications Action for Regional Development, STAR. British Telecom says it will integrate the investment into an expanded programme for the region; the award will be used to develop an optical fibre telecommunications network within Ulster, the only UK region involved in the STAR programme, and construct fibre optic links to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Among the developments to be introduced are special digital equipment at 44 locations in Ulster, switched transmissions down phone lines from computer to computer, and extensions of advanced data facilities into remote areas of Northern Ireland, which would otherwise be unavailable on economic grounds. British Telecom says the investment means improvements to the telecommunications infrastructure five years earlier than they would have otherwise been introduced; the company says the STAR measures could cost UKP100m up to 1992, while the infrastructure implementations, over two years, should secure around 110 jobs. The STAR programme was set up to improve telecommunications infrastructures in less developed regions of the European Community. British Telecom beat Mercury Communications Ltd to the contract; it says the development should give a boost to business in the province, and especially help the telecommunications needs of small to medium sized enterprises.

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