Broadband bottlenecks will be focus of Ireland’s telecoms presidency

14 Nov 2012

Ireland's Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD

Eradicating construction and civil engineering bottlenecks that will impede the delivery of the Digital Agenda to provide 100Mbps to 50pc of Europe’s citizens by 2020 will be a key focus of Ireland’s chair of the EU Telecoms Council, the country’s Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte told a European E-commerce conference today.

On 1 January, Ireland will take over the chair of the EU Telecoms Council, coinciding with the country’s presidency of the EU.

Rabbitte told the EU he intends to tackle issues such as intellectual property rights, cyber security, data protection and the costs associated with rolling out high-speed broadband.

A study issued by Analysys Mason yesterday indicated that 80pc of the cost of deploying broadband in EU countries is swallowed up by civil works, such as digging trenches.

“By far the biggest element of cost associated with deploying high-speed broadband is in the area of construction and civil engineering,” Rabbitte confirmed.

“This is why we will prioritise efforts to reduce these costs where possible and to leverage existing infrastructure to achieve much more expeditious and cost-effective deployment.”

Rabbitte also drew attention to the need for all States and stakeholders playing their part in accelerating investment – including the EU Commission itself.

“I would like to stress the importance of swift decision making by the commission’s Services on State Aids applications made by member states.   

“Where a national government concludes that such investments are necessary in order to boost competitiveness in critical sectors such as broadband, clearance at EU level within the shortest possible time frame will speed our path towards growth and recovery,” Rabbitte said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years