Virgin Media CEO calls for future-proofed telecoms strategy for Ireland

22 Jul 2016327 Shares

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Tony Hanway, CEO, Virgin Media Ireland

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The CEO of Virgin Media in Ireland Tony Hanway has called for a future-proofed communications strategy for Ireland.

Hanway said that a future-proofed network would be vital for Ireland to continue to enjoy success as an innovation hub.

His comments, made during an address to the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, come at a time when three consortia – Eir, SIRO (Vodafone/ESB) and E-net –have been shortlisted for the National Broadband Plan with a roll-out scheduled to begin in June 2017.

‘The broadband infrastructure that connects our villages, towns and cities is every bit as important as the roads and railways that form our transport network’
– TONY HANWAY, VIRGIN MEDIA

What will follow in the months ahead will be gruelling negotiations aimed at announcing a winner or winners and there can be no margin for error if the plan stands a chance of success.

The recent shortlist news was accompanied by the shock realisation that 170,000 premises supposed to be in non-intervention areas will need to be included in the Government’s intervention. This brings the number of homes to be addressed to 927,000 homes and businesses.

As well as this, the Government opted for a gap-funded model to finance the construction of the network, which means the finished network will be owned by the winning consortium/consortia rather than the State after 25 years.

A silver bullet for Ireland’s broadband woes?

The network will be open to other operators on a wholesale basis, which means an operator based in Dublin could effectively sell fibre broadband to a resident of Kerry.

Ultimately, what Hanway is calling for is that this network is future-proofed and won’t fall behind technology curves, solving Ireland’s broadband crisis for once and for all.

‘If we get it right, Ireland can be right up there with the best in Europe in terms of being an attractive place to live, work and invest’
– TONY HANWAY, VIRGIN MEDIA

Hanway said failure by the Government or the private sector to continue to invest in critical communications networks, or investing too slowly to be globally competitive, will hold Ireland back.

“For this to happen, we need to work together on a clearly defined national broadband strategy that has to be aligned across national and local authorities. Virgin Media fully supports the National Broadband Plan which will be a game changer for Ireland.”

He said Virgin Media has first-hand experience of the benefits high-speed broadband can bring to communities across Ireland.

“The broadband infrastructure that connects our villages, towns and cities is every bit as important as the roads and railways that form our transport network.

“If we get it right, Ireland can be right up there with the best in Europe in terms of being an attractive place to live, work and invest,” Hanway said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com