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Super-fast broadband access could be up and running in almost nine out of ten households in Northern Ireland by the end of 2012, it has been claimed.

Arlene Foster, the nation's Enterprise Minister, said that the "significant" investment BT has made to roll-out high-speed broadband in Northern Ireland has provided a much-needed boost.

"Having one of the best telecommunications infrastructures in Europe will help to attract a more diverse range of high growth, high value companies to Northern Ireland and enhance local companies' potential to grow their export business," she said.

Ms Foster urged businesses to take advantage of the telecommunications infrastructure in Ireland to help them compete on a global level.

As part of its plans to roll-out high-speed broadband in Northern Ireland, BT will fit fibre-optic technology into more than 780 cabinets at a cost of around £30 million.

It will result in some homes having access to download speeds of up to 40Mb.  

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