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Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that Northern Ireland will receive £4.4 million to expand its superfast broadband rollout.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that Northern Ireland will receive £4.4 million to expand its superfast broadband rollout.

The money comes from the government’s £530 million broadband investment fund, from which Wales received £56.9 million last month.

Under the Northern Ireland Executive’s existing £52 million broadband programme, 97 percent of homes and businesses in the country have been given  access to superfast broadband.

The new funding will cover the remaining areas not covered by this programme, and the Northern Ireland Executive will also match the investment.

In addition, Hunt said that the government would look at holding a pilot in Northern Ireland to explore how superfast broadband can be delivered to all premises.

He said: “Broadband is essential for economic growth and increasingly for our everyday lives. Our investment will help provide everyone with decent broadband access and ensure no-one is left behind in the digital age.”

The government hopes for the UK to have the “best” superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with everyone having access to at least 2Mbps broadband speeds, and 90 percent of homes and businesses in every local authority area having access to superfast broadband, at 24 Mbps or above.