Government promises 30Mb/s broadband to all under new strategy

Pictured: Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte. Image: Photocall Ireland

28 April 2014

The Government has given the green light to a a fibre build-out which will deliver broadband to rural areas with speeds from 30Mb/s to 200Mb/s.

Over 1,000 rural communities have already been identified as target areas for the proposed fibre-based connections.

It is envisaged that telecommunications operators will be able to offer multiple services off the fibre network, including fixed wireless, copper-based and mobile services, as well as offering the possibility of direct fibre connections.

Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte said: “The provision of quality, reliable high speed broadband is a necessity for a 21st century economy and society. The last two years alone has seen dramatic increases in broadband usage and data traffic across broadband networks. This trend is set to continue as new applications and services emerge”.

The Minister noted that since publication of the National Broadband Plan in 2012 the commercial sector has invested €2 billion, including €400 million by eircom and €500 million by UPC on their fibre networks, the roll-out of 4G wireless networks by Three, Vodafone and eircom; and the arrival Sky to the residential broadband market.

The ESB is also engaged in a joint venture with Vodafone to implement a fibre network to homes over its existing electricity infrastructure, serving up to 450,000 premises outside Dublin. Discussions between ESB and Vodafone to form a new company were said to be at “an advanced stage”.

Minister Rabbitte said: “This is a highly ambitious project, aimed at definitively addressing the broadband challenge in Ireland. It is an investment for this generation and the next. By providing the critical fibre infrastructure as a key component of an end-to-end solution, we aim to ensure that services to rural communities can continue to scale up to meet demand, similar to the way in which the urban market has developed.”

“This strategy not only supports balanced regional development, it also delivers a solution which is future-proofed and capable of responding to new technology developments and increasing demand. It will ensure that all businesses and citizens across Ireland can participate in and maximise the benefits of a digitally enabled economy and society.”

A full public consultation will take place once the strategy is published later this year.

TechCentral Reporters

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