The State’s investment in metropolitan area networks (MANs) is having a direct impact insofar as 89pc of new foreign direct investment projects are using them, translating into 3,000 workers using them for connectivity.
E-net, the firm responsible for managing the first phase of the Government’s €120m investment, analysed IDA job creation in 2007 and found that Phase 1 towns have increased their share of IDA inward investment from 24pc of total towns in 2004 to 89pc in 2007.
E-net says the MANs are helping the rollout of affordable broadband with over 600,000 people benefiting from their existence.
Recently conducted research found that 32,000 private-sector jobs rely on the MANs for communications and that 17,000 public servants depend on MANs for their communications.
As well as this, the MANs are supporting 40,000 homes and businesses indirectly.
The research also found that 90,000 third-level students rely on the MANs for their ICT infrastructure at college.
In terms of mobile communications over 400,000 mobile users rely on MANs every day.
“Three years in, it is clear that the MANs are delivering for the regions, helping the retention and expansion of foreign investment,” said E-Net chief executive Conal Henry.
“The vast majority of these major FDI investments are choosing locations that are directly benefiting from the MANs network. These figures are proof that the investment in fibre is paying significant economic dividends for Ireland.”
Henry went on: “The MANs are also helping to drive down the cost of broadband, as well as introducing new product offerings to the regions. They have broken the single supplier dependency and provided choice and competition in the regions included in Phase I. In a short space of time there are over 600,000 users benefiting from the existence of the MANs.”
The Government is currently proceeding with a second phase of the Metropolitan Area Network Programme for the building of up to a further 90 MANs around Ireland.
By John Kennedy