Finance Minister visits the Team behind Network NI and welcomes eir network expansion plans

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has today joined eir Business NI at its Belfast headquarters to meet with the team behind Network NI – the platform that has been helping drive the digital agenda for Government over the past seven years – and to welcome plans to extend its next generation IP network to a further 13 major towns by the end of 2015.

Once work completes later this year, 22 large towns across Northern Ireland will be on the eir network representing a total investment by the company of over £18 million.  Towns benefiting from the latest network extension include Antrim, Armagh and Dungannon.

During his visit to Forsyth House, the Minister was shown the Network Operations Centre, central to the fully managed network service that underpins Network NI, and the latest video communications that are transforming how civil servants communicate and are saving on employee travel costs.

Speaking as he visited eir Headquarters in Belfast, Simon Hamilton said: “Embracing innovative digital solutions is vital to driving Northern Ireland’s public sector forward. Network NI, delivered by eir in partnership with my department, has helped enable joined up government and improved citizen services at a significantly reduced cost.

“Having a single backbone network across government supports the delivery of reform and I am pleased to see at first hand the Network Operations Centre at eir and exciting new technology that is being delivered to help transform government.”

eir is committed to the Northern Ireland economy and, having more than doubled its staff to over 50 people, is continuing to grow its team across sales, service and in their Network Operations Centre to continue to support Government reform and to drive expansion into the private sector.

“Our continued network expansion across all areas of Northern Ireland will ensure that we can continue to improve value for our customers,” says Darren Lemon, General Manager at eir Business NI, “What we have done with public sector has freed them from worrying about core networks, giving them the right platform and the time to create new digital services.  We now want to offer NI enterprise the same opportunity to drive growth in the digital economy. “