Private sector should drive the bulk of next-gen network investment

19 Aug 2010

BT Ireland CEO Graham Sutherland believes competition in telecoms will help restore the economy.

IF there is one lament that the new CEO of BT Ireland North and South Graham Sutherland has for the telecoms industry in the Republic it is that circumstances over the last decade have prevented telecoms from being considered a competitive tool in Ireland’s economic make-up.

This is not for want of investment – up until two years ago the sector was investing €700m a year in infrastructure – but more for lack of progress in terms of competition and the spread of broadband on an equal basis.

Telecoms, believes Sutherland, will be key to the economy in the future.

“Competition is driving significant investment in networks at the moment, which is a great thing, and we’ve seen tremendous steps forward in broadband take-up and the speed of broadband, but there is an element of a two-speed economy between the cities and rural areas. We have a divide that needs to be eradicated.

“A vision around how we will achieve that and go about that is required in my opinion.”

Read more of ‘Building a 21st Century Network’ at Digital 21 – Digital 21 is a campaign to highlight the imperative of creating an action programme to secure the digital infrastructure and services upon which the success of our economy depends.

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