Ireland launches national broadband plan

Irish Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, T.D., has launched “Delivering a Connected Society – A National Broadband Plan for Ireland” which outlines the Irish government’s commitment to provide high-speed broadband to every home and business in the country.

Irish Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, T.D., has launched “Delivering a Connected Society – A National Broadband Plan for Ireland” which outlines the Irish government’s commitment to provide high-speed broadband to every home and business in the country.

The Next Generation Broadband Taskforce report, published last May, calculated that the commercial sector could deliver high-speed broadband (defined as speeds of 30—100 Mbps) to the more populated areas, but that up to 30% of the population would continue to have basic broadband service only. The National Broadband Plan for Ireland is the government’s response, and is the result of detailed discussion with stakeholders, including the telecommunications industry.

The National Broadband Plan targets are:

  • 70—100 Mbps to more than half of the population by 2015
  • at least 40 Mbps, and in many cases much faster speeds, to at least a further 20% of the population and potentially as much as 35% around smaller towns and villages
  • a minimum of 30 Mbps for every remaining home and business in the country – no matter how rural or remote.

Launching the plan at the Croke Park Conference Centre Minister Rabbitte said, “I want everyone in Ireland to have access to at least 30-Mbps download speeds no matter how rural their home or business. In addition I’m setting a higher target of at least 40 Mbps for many areas outside the cities.

“We will also do everything in our power to facilitate commercial investment so that speeds of up to 100 Mbps are offered to as many households as possible. Many urban homes can already access that sort of speed but we want to get the regulatory environment right, to strip away barriers to private sector investment and to encourage demand for higher bandwidth services,” Minister Rabbitte asserted.

He added, “These are dramatic increases in speeds – particularly for those outside urban centers who often can only access 1 Mbps or 2 Mbps today.”

The faster speeds will come from ongoing industry investment, the release, this year, of spectrum for 4G mobile services, and from state investment to address market failure, the government says.

“Despite the pressure on government finances we will invest public funds so as to make sure more thinly populated areas are not left behind,” Minister Rabbitte said.” Internet connectivity is now as important for both employment and society as electricity has been for the last 60 years.”

Implementation of this plan will see Ireland doing more than meeting the targets set down by the European Commission in the “Digital Agenda for Europe,” the government notes.

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