More than half of population to have high-speed broadband by 2015

30 Aug 2012

Today at the Croke Park Conference Centre, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, launched Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, laying out targets to achieve at least 30Mbps broadband in every home and business in Ireland by 2015.

The plan is to bring much faster broadband speeds to every home and business in the State, particularly to rural areas that are currently only able to access speeds of 1 or 2Mbps. The Government intends to reduce the red tape to aid commercial investment and facilitate this development.

Specifically, the targets of the National Broadband Plan are as follows:

  • 70Mbps – 100Mbps to more than half of population by 2015
  • At least 40Mbps (faster speeds in some cases) to a further 20pc, possibly up to 35pc, in smaller towns and villages
  • Minimum of 30Mbps for every remaining home and business, no matter how rural or remote

€175m State investment

A State investment of €175m has been envisaged for the implementation of this plan, which more than meets the targets set down by the European Commission in the Digital Plan for Europe.

 “Despite the pressure on Government  finances we will invest public funds so as to make sure more thinly populated areas are not left behind,” said Minister Rabbitte. “Internet connectivity is now as important for both employment and society as electricity has been for the last 60 years.”

Facilitating commercial investment

The faster speeds will come from ongoing industry investment, the release of spectrum for 4G mobile services this year, and State investment. “Ireland’s population is more broadly dispersed than that of many other countries so reaching the target will require State investment to encourage the private sector to offer services which would not otherwise make commercial sense,” explained the Minister.

Minister Rabbitte has expressed the Government’s commitment to facilitating commercial investment so that speeds of up to 100Mbps are offered to as many households as possible. “Many urban homes can already access that sort of speed but we want to get the regulatory environment right, to strip away barriers to private sector investment and to encourage demand for higher bandwidth services,” he said.

This will be achieved by minimising or standardising administrative obligations and fees imposed on infrastructure providers and initiatives include a more efficient approach to processing planning applications and possibly leveraging State-owned infrastructure and services on a commercial basis.

  • Stay tuned for a full interview with Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte TD on tomorrow

High-speed internet image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.