Fastest city in Europe

Continuing his countdown to City of Culture 2013, GARBHAN DOWNEY reflects on the bombing of the Culture offices, is encouraged by good news on superfast broadband in the city.

This week Derry became the first city in Ireland or Britain to have 100 percent super-broadband availability. And according to BT’s new CEO, Colm O’Neill, that makes us the fastest digital city in Europe.

By next year, every home or business in the city will have access to broadband speeds of 80 Mbps – ten times the aver-age speed currently available in London.

This fact is highly significant as, for a while at least, it will make Derry a prime location to do any form of digital business, from commerce to entertainment to education.

The decision to roll-out fibre-optic cable right across our city was a crucial element of BT’s sponsorship deal with the Culture Company. And it will have enormous benefits for the Digital Derry strand of our project.

Martin Bradley of Culture Company described the completion of the broadband project as “tremendous” news.

He commented: “The City of Culture designation is a tre-mendous catalyst for the rejuvenation and regeneration of the city, and we’ve already had a number of key infrastructural developments on the back of this accolade.

“Given the economic climate we have now, it is crucially important that businesses here have every advantage and aid they can get, and having the high speed broadband connectivity that BT has given us will be a fantastic boost to the local economy.”

The ‘Digital City’ launch, hosted by the Mayor Maurice Devenney at Ebrington, was an impressive affair and includedan eye-popping practical demonstration on the benefits of hi-speed cable. But the frostingon the cake, quite literally, was the spread laid on for guests by caterer Patricia Mahon. Each guest, courtesy of BT, got to take home a City of Culture cupcake adorned with an iced CoC Awen logo. And for the record, it tastes as good as it looks.