Broadband taskforce report calls for more investment in infrastructure
Half of businesses expected to have 70Mb/s connections by 2015
TechTrade | 03 May 2012 :
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has announced the start of a four-week consultation period with SMEs and the public on how to improve the state of Ireland's broadband. The move comes on the back of a report completed by the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce (NGBT) that made 42 recommendations for how capacity and speeds can keep pace with advances in the tech sector.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Dublin’s Digital Hub yesterday, Minister Rabbitte said: “Industry is telling us that by 2015 more than 50% of the population will have access to very fast broadband – at least 70Mb/s. We can also expect that most of the rest of Irish homes will be able to access broadband which, by today’s standards would be considered very good quality. However, we face a major challenge because 15-30% of the population will continue to have basic broadband service only, as the case for commercial investment in rural areas is very challenging.
“Our challenge is threefold: firstly, make it easier for the private sector to invest in rollout, secondly encourage citizens and businesses to go online, and thirdly address infrastructure deficits. This is essential work to boost Ireland’s competitiveness.”
Comprising of CEO’s of the leading Telecoms providers in Ireland, The NGBT has been working with Minister Rabbitte and his Department since June 2011 to pool information and share views about the steps required to accelerate high speed broadband roll out across Ireland.
The report highlighted five headings for consideration:
• Industry investment plans and likely gaps
• Stimulation of demand for broadband services.
• Planning reforms to accelerate build out of essential telecoms infrastructure;
• Spectrum policy
• The role of state infrastructure and services
Minister Rabbitte continued: “The number of broadband subscribers in Ireland has grown from just over 400,000 to nearly 1.7 million over the past five years. Speeds are also increasing fast as evidenced in the NGBT report and by recent ComReg data as well as international comparative reports.
“However, boosting digital engagement is a key priority for economic growth and social inclusion. Currently 20,000 SMEs are not engaged and 21% of adults do not use the Internet.”