Forfás has called for the construction of further fibre optic rings or Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) in at least five national Spatial Strategy towns in addition to the MANs that exist in 93 cities and towns across Ireland.
The agency called for the MANs to be constructed in the five National Spatial Strategy centres – Shannon, Ennis, Mallow, Tuam and Castlebar – that don’t have a MAN.
Conal Henry, chief executive of E-net, said that the recommendations of the report represented a further endorsement of the MANs programme.
He welcomed the report’s assertion that “advanced broadband networks and services i essential to enable Ireland to support the smart economy” and that “the availability of high-quality broadband is strategically important to improving productivity, facilitating innovation and supporting regional development.”
Inside the report
The report said: “Larger centres included in Phase 1 of the MANs project, which have both a choice of backbone networks and large business customers, have seen significant improvements in communications services in terms of speed and price. The MANs have also spurred competition by encouraging existing providers to lower cost and improve service provision.”
Henry reiterated the report’s call for changes to planning regulations to mandate fibre ducting in all new public, commercial and residential premises.
“Given the success of the MANs to date, if these further policy innovations advocated by Forfás were fully and speedily adopted, Ireland could rapidly move to the forefront of the global table in the provision of top quality, fibre-based broadband," Henry said.
By John Kennedy
Photo: E-net CEO Conal Henry and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan TD