Mansion House, Dublin: Opening the TIF (Telecommunications and Internet Federation) conference this morning, chairman Gerry Fahy said that access alone to broadband is not enough. The day when customers have choice of broadband access is well within sight too, he said.
He said that although the industry standard of basic bandwidth currently stands at 1-2Mbps, often providing “somewhat less than it says on the tin”, he claimed that with investment in the telco industry at over half a billion euro per annum this should change.
The new benchmarks for the telecommunications industry should be 50Mbps, 100Mbps and beyond, he said.
Speaking about the TIF conference he stated: “We won’t solve the issues surrounding next-generation networks and broadband here today but we will understand them better.”
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamonn Ryan TD, said that in order to stay competitive in international leagues we need to take a step forward and his forecast of the next 10 years will revolve around cheaper and faster broadband availability, echoing Fahy.
While online collaboration, smart technologies, mobile workers and other emerging trends will drive this demand, there is no single solution for what platform will work best with these new services and the ensuing volume of data, he said.
This problem is being faced by other countries, with the very same questions arising he said, and of course there are significant risks associated with investment in any one area.
Ryan said it wasn’t an issue of fixed or wireless being the right fit, but rather one working best with an urban population while the other satisfied a rural one.
In light of recent industrial developments, Ryan said his department was currently drafting a policy paper on how best to approach next-generation networks in Ireland, and that a national advisory forum would be established by the end of the year to evaluate these policy options.
Addressing the areas of deregulation and competition, Ryan said the regulatory system is more settled now than it was 10 years ago, and that it is better to step back slightly and let competition increase bandwidth and lower cost of access.
By Marie Boran