Second meeting of NGN Broadband Task Force today

12 Sep 2011

The Next Generation Broadband Task Force chaired by the Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, TD, will convene today for the second time since it was established in June.

The taskforce, which Rabbitte set up earlier this summer, aims to have achieved its work by March 2012.

It aims to work to an EU target of 30Mbps for all citizens and 100Mbps for 50pc of Irish citizens.

The meeting today will focus on the following issues:

·        a review of existing spectrum policy;

·        the role of consumers and businesses in driving demand;

·        planning and development challenges and

·        the identification of appropriate and deliverable targets for high-speed broadband penetration.

Rabbitte said the taskforce has worked ‘intensively’ over the summer on a range of issues and welcomed recent fibre rollout decisions by UPC and Eircom.

“These developments are welcome, particularly in the context of the Government’s commitment to drive bigger broadband to more places, as soon as possible,” Rabbitte said in a statement.

Will the taskforce achieve its objectives?

The key to deploying broadband, especially fibre of the next-generation variety, lies with investor certainty. Management teams of overseas telecoms firms, in particular, will not rubberstamp investment decisions until regulatory doubts have been set aside.

This means that Ireland’s forthcoming wireless spectrum auctions must roll out on time, and agreements over the structures through which rival telecoms firms will co-invest and compete over the same infrastructure will be critical.

Until these doubts are exorcised, the ability of telecoms companies to invest satisfactorily in next-generation infrastructure going forward will be debatable.

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