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Businesses in Northern Ireland are being offered grants to hook up to broadband by satellite

Some 250 small and medium-sized businesses could receive up to £1,500 each to subsidise set-up and running costs for hi-speed Net access supplied by Aramiska.

The scheme is a public/private initiative funded by the Industrial Research & Technology Unit in Lisburn.
This is yet another example of money being used to "pump prime" areas where broadband services aren't readily available.

Since the cash helps stimulate demand, it gives providers an incentive to make services available in areas deemed to be commercially unattractive.

Aramiska is due to launch its service in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK at the beginning of March. It says it has already pre-sold between 60 and 70 systems to companies keen to get high-speed Net access.

This isn't the first time that the private sector has teamed up with the private sector to roll-out broadband.

In December, the South West of England Regional Development Agency said it would invest £12.5 million to help get SMEs in Cornwall online.

The cash - which includes European grants - will be used to provide 3,300 businesses with ADSL access from BT.

And in September, businesses in the Coventry and Warwickshire were offered £7 million to help subsidise broadband. ®

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