Broadband ISP Fibrus Launch 2024 Rural Community Fund with £120k

Belfast-based UK network builder and full fibre broadband ISP Fibrus has launched a new 2024 Community Fund, which is worth a total of £120,000 and will be distributed to a variety of rural community groups across the operator’s network patches in Northern Ireland and Cumbria (England).

At present the operator’s gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network has already been expanded to cover 354,000 premises (337k RFS), which is up from 339,000 premises on 31st January 2024 (321,000 RFS). Many of their locations are in rural villages and towns, which is where the latest fund has been targetted.

NOTE: Infracapital-backed Fibrus has attracted over £750m of committed capital, including £235m from investors, £220m from a banking consortium and the rest as public subsidy (e.g. £197m Project Stratum – up to 82,000 premises by June 2025 in N.Ireland – and the £108m Project Gigabit contract for 60,000 premises in Cumbria, England – Hyperfast GB).

So far Fibrus have already allocated £115k to local groups in Northern Ireland since launching the fund in 2021, with a further £60,000 allocated for Cumbria in 2023, and today’s announcement means they’ll be continuing this sponsorship throughout 2024 with more funding and a “focus on addressing digital poverty and fostering inclusivity within local communities.” The grants are worth up to £2,000 for each organisation selected.

Some of the projects that have already won funding through the scheme include the Armagh Westenders’ initiative, which supports elderly and vulnerable individuals with digital literacy programmes, and HYPE Learning’s homework club in Killicomaine, which received iPads to facilitate internet access for children after school.

Linda McMillan, Chief People Officer at Fibrus, said:

“Giving back to the local community is one of our core missions at Fibrus and our partnership with the Community Foundation allows us to play a vital role in enhancing people’s lives through improved digital literacy and connectivity.

Originally established to combat digital poverty, the Fibrus Community Fund directs all available funding for the year towards deserving organisations, underlining our dedication to create a digitally inclusive society. We are delighted to continue this sponsorship in 2024 and help all within our community get connected.”

The next round of funding is now open for applications and will close on Friday 17th May 2024. Details of the fund for Northern Ireland can be found here, while the page for Cumbria is here.

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