The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern TD (pictured), has announced that 10pc of the department’s advertising spend will now be on the internet.
Speaking at an Irish telecoms conference in Dublin this afternoon, he also urged the employers’ group IBEC, Dublin Chamber of Commerce and other business interests to follow suit.
“As a start I have directed my officials to set aside a minimum 10pc of my department’s advertising spend to online advertising. It is a growing market and as the minister with responsibility for the communications sector, I believe we will be setting an example for other government departments and agencies,” he said.
Currently the percentage of internet users visiting government websites in Ireland is relatively low at 35pc, compared to an EU average of 49pc.
Minister Ahern also confirmed that his policy direction to the Commission for Communication Regulation would mandate flat-rate internet access. He hopes to see this introduced by June.
He also announced the establishment of a Telecom Strategy Group – to include representatives of IBEC, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators and senior department officials – which will advise on driving demand for broadband.
The rate of broadband take-up in Ireland is currently 0.1pc. Internationally, take-up rates range from 1pc to 6pc, with Korea having a significant higher take-up at over 16pc.
The Minister aims to combat this, insisting that “over the next 12 months, I want to kill one myth that this country cannot support profitable broadband – because it can.”
“What I do not want from this group is telecommunications companies (telcos) simply holding out their hands looking for taxpayers money to subsidise their services,” the minister warned, adding that “in the present climate, those sort of demands are simply untenable”.
By Lisa Deeney