Contracts valued at an estimated €8.25m have been signed for the construction of a series of high-speed fibre networks linking six key towns in Meath, the home county of Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD.
The new metropolitan area networks (MANs) will be built in the Meath towns of Dunshaughlin, Kells, Navan, Trim, Dunboyne and Clonee. Construction is due to start in early August and will be concluded in mid-2007. A further four wireless networks will be constructed in the towns of Athboy, Duleek, Laytown-Bettystown and Ratoath later in the year.
Minister Dempsey said his policy will continue to be on increasing competition and coverage on the supply side of the broadband market for the benefit of the consumer.
“The MANs will facilitate new entrants, new services and more competition throughout Ireland. I expect that the presence of the network will allow all operators to extend the reach of their network and to provide world-class broadband services to local Meath businesses and to attract inward investment to the area,” Minister Dempsey said.
The broadband initiative is 90pc funded by the Department of Communications under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 and is co-funded by the EU from the European Regional Development Fund.
Meath County Council will fund the remaining 10pc. Meath County Manager Tom Dowling said: “We are fully committed to this project and expect to deliver the five networks to the towns by mid-2007. This will allow enterprises in these towns the earliest opportunity to connect to a world-class fibre network.”
The chairman of Meath County Council Jimmy Cudden said broadband is now an essential core infrastructure requirement for all aspects of business in the region, from small and medium enterprises to multinationals.
“Speedy access to information is one of the key drivers for all sectors of the economy and Meath County Council is fully committed to facilitating this demand with its participation in the rollout of this programme in County Meath.”
By John Kennedy