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The Northern Ireland Executive has committed to investing a further £500,000 in super-fast broadband research.

Commercial fibre broadband trials are currently ongoing in the Six Counties, and the money will help test the technology in rural areas.

Arlene Foster, the Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister, said the Broadband Fund has been established to test the application of emerging technologies in remote communities.

"Since its launch in August 2008, my department has committed £890,000 under the fund and we have already completed seven projects," she explained.

Ms Foster claimed that bringing next-generation broadband to remote rural areas "continues to be a challenge" for the executive.

"However, while this is not unique to Northern Ireland, we must continue to invest to ensure we exploit new technologies that enable our infrastructure to fully support the economy," she stated.

According to a new Ofcom report, 97 per cent of homes and business premises in Northern Ireland are now able to sign up for super-fast broadband – the highest proportion of any UK nation at present. 

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