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Londonderry is set to become the first city in Ireland to achieve 100 per cent fibre broadband coverage, it has been announced.

BT is to invest £3 million upgrading the local communications infrastructure, as Derry prepares for its inaugural year as City of Culture in 2013.

And with the project set to commence in the spring, 21,000 homes and 6,000 businesses should have access to fibre broadband deals by the autumn.

Graham Sutherland, Chief Executive of BT Ireland and Northern Ireland, said the investment would put Londonderry "years ahead" of similar cities and similar regions across the UK and Europe.

"We have already started placing orders for the equipment and we will have people on the ground from February or March," he stated.

"It will take us about nine months to build the infrastructure and make it ready to use. This is effectively taking the fibre optic cable out to the street and giving people high bandwidth and high speeds."

Commenting on the news, Oonagh McGillion, Interim Director of Derry's Culture Company, said the BT upgrade would give added confidence to anyone considering investing in the city.

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