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Dublin: 14°C Monday 27 June 2022

We finally have a timeline for when all Ireland will get decent broadband

Sure, it’ll be grand when it happens.

EVERY HOUSE AND business in Ireland will have access to high-speed broadband within five years under a plan to roll out the technology across the country.

Communications Minister Alex White today published an “intervention strategy” for the estimated 30% of premises which won’t get access to high-speed broadband from commercial providers by the end of next year.

The government wants to prop up the work of companies like Eircom, which has rolled out its fibre network to about 1.2 million homes and businesses so far.

White said under the strategy it was predicted 85% of premises would be able to connect to a network by 2018 and this would rise to 100% by 2020.

White Communications Minister Alex White Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

“I expect to be in a position to sign a contract or contracts with a winning bidder or bidders by mid-2016,” he said.

We can then begin to physically connect our communities – all of our communities – to a modern, future-proofed, high-speed broadband network.”

It previously released this map of the areas – marked in yellow – which will need state intervention to get access to internet at speeds of at least 30Mbps:

Map Source: DCENR

Click here for a larger version

Unknown cost

However it has already been three years since then-communications minister Pat Rabbitte first announced a national broadband plan and no pricetag has been attached to the project so far.

A similar scheme in New Zealand, where planned speeds of 100Mbps will reach 75% of the population by 2020, will take up to NZ$2 billion (€1.2 billion) in public money.

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Irish Farmers’ Association general secretary Pat Smith said it was very important the broadband rollout happened as quickly as possible.

The commitment to deliver this by 2020 will have to realised and the pricing structure for rural customers must be affordable and the same as applies in urban areas,” he said.

Rural Litter Bin Source: Fiona MacGinty

‘Huge impact’ on jobs

Ibec head of policy Fergal O’Brien said the amount of businesses and homes that still didn’t have access to high-speed broadband had “a huge impact on job creation, social inclusion and competitiveness”.

“Small- and medium-sized firms without high-speed broadband are unable to compete on a level playing field field for the estimated €5.9 billion currently spent online annually by Irish consumers,” he said.

This has forced some to relocate, but this isn’t an option for many, particularly those in the hospitality sector.”

In 2013, Ireland had one of the lowest broadband-penetration rates in Europe, although the figure jumped significantly last year with the private-sector rollouts.

READ: Here’s what is being done to lure ‘the next Facebook’ to Ireland >

READ: Donegal could face a bit of a wait for broadband >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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