Ireland over-reliant on 3G broadband, Imagine boss says

11 May 2010

Sean Bolger’s broadband operator Imagine, which is in the process of deploying a €100m 4G WiMax network across Ireland with Intel and Motorola, has hit out at Ireland’s over-reliance on ‘outmoded’ 3G technology.

Imagine has begun its commercial roll out of WiMax – the first deployment of WiMax in Europe – in selected areas in and around Dublin. The first phase of the rollout is covering 250,000 homes in Dublin, Wexford and Sligo.

Imagine director Brian O’Donoghue hit out at Ireland’s over-reliance on what he terms outdated and outmoded 3G in response to the latest OECD report on broadband which ranked Ireland at the bottom of the European league table on broadband speeds.

Imagine is rolling out the first national 4G WiMax network in Europe this year, with the support of Intel and Motorola, to enable faster internet speeds and better phone services at low prices. He said the rapid deployment of the superfast 4G WiMax network will shoot Ireland up the European broadband league table.

“This week’s OECD statistics show that Ireland has dropped to 29th position for broadband speeds, after being placed 26th in September 2008,” O’Donoghue said.

“The new 4G WiMax network is faster and more reliable than 3G, has no expensive line rental charges like DSL and is available at half the cost of older technology providers like Eircom.

“The Irish Government, ComReg and the existing market players have been hopelessly inadequate in preparing Ireland for future technologies and the damning OECD report has created a significant opportunity for 4G WiMax in Ireland,” said O’Donoghue.

WiMax is backed worldwide by Intel, Motorola, Time Warner, Google and many other major multinationals.

O’Donoghue said the new technology is already allowing Imagine to make high-speed broadband available and affordable to businesses and consumers in counties Dublin, Wexford, Kildare, Sligo, Louth, Westmeath and Longford, with 30 new locations now being rolled out each month.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Imagine has started its commercial roll out of WiMax

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