Industry calls for €5bn
broadband investment


15 Feb 2006

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IBEC-based Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF) has called on the Government to consider making a €5bn investment in Ireland’s telecoms infrastructure. Such an investment, it is envisaged, would deliver 100pc broadband access to all businesses and households across Ireland.

TIF says that at present the private sector is investing €600m a year in telecoms infrastructure.

It warned that much closer co-operation is needed between industry and Government to accelerate investment and deliver the enhanced bit rates and optimal coverage.

TIF chairman Dr George Young said that the industry body has established an Operators Broadband Taskforce to address the issue.

In a report entitled Ensuring Broadband Ireland, TIF highlighted major hold-ups in the planning process because responsibility for broadband policy and planning is spread between various Government departments and local authorities.

It recommends the Government streamlines the planning process to overcome delays and ensures that local authorities better facilitate the work of operators putting in place essential broadband infrastructure.

TIF also said a joint industry and Government market development plan is needed. The Government, it said, should take a lead in promoting e-government and e-learning and SMEs should be given better support to develop e-commerce.

TIF director Tommy McCabe commented: “Broadband must be recognised as an essential utility and given a similar status as other national infrastructure projects.

“Recent surveys suggest the uptake of broadband by SMEs boosts economic activity and helps create new business, more jobs and better customer service,” McCabe said.

By John Kennedy