Communications Minister Eamon Ryan announced the successful delivery of the €233m National Broadband Scheme by 3 Ireland, bringing a broadband service to 1,028 areas across rural Ireland.
Ireland is one of the first countries to deliver a scheme like this on a national basis and has managed to meet the EU target for broadband availability, two years in advance. It is co-funded by the Exchequer, the EU and 3 Ireland.
A service between 1.6Mbps and 14.4Mbps download speeds has been made available for 235,000 premises across each county, creating 170 jobs in the process.
The contract notes that speeds will be increased to a maximum of 10 Mbps in the next two years, with 3 Ireland indicating that speeds of 40Mbps are achievable by the end of 2011.
“This is the most significant milestone in Ireland’s broadband story,” said Ryan.
“We now have a platform for future advances. Broadband has been successfully delivered to all NBS areas. We are now at over 99pc coverage for the whole country.”
Ryan said he will announce a new Rural Broadband Scheme in the new year to address the remainder, which he said is less than 1pc.
“This is truly ‘access all areas for broadband’. Now that we have this base, there is no limit to the possibilities,” said Ryan.