Rabbitte wants broadband in close to 100pc of homes in two years – 81pc ‘not enough’

21 Dec 2012

New CSO figures showing that 81pc of homes in Ireland had broadband were just “not enough” Comms Minister Pat Rabbitte TD told an EU Telecoms Ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday. He said that within two years he intends to see that figure reach 100pc.

At the meeting the EU Communications Commissioner Neelie Kroes who is responsible for the EU’s digital agenda to have 100Mbps broadband available in 50pc of EU homes and businesses by 2020 and at least 50Mbps in the rest welcomed the appointment of Lord David Puttnam as Ireland’s digital champion.

Kroes said Puttnam would be very effective in helping to raise issues and challenge traditional thinking.

An ambitious plan

Addressing EU telecoms ministers Minister Rabbitte said: “The internet is not about games and shopping in 2012. It is an essential tool for living whether you are 17 or 77. Government has a challenge to persuade the remaining 20pc of households to get connected”

“Broadband is now available to homes everywhere in the country but many people – particularly older people have not yet become convinced of the benefits. The CSO figures suggest that just over half of those over 60 have never used the internet.

“While this may not be surprising it is something we need to address as a society. This will be one of the issues to be addressed in the Knowledge Society Strategy which I will be publishing in the New Year. It is also an issue close to the heart that David Puttnam our recently appointed Digital Champion.”

Rabbitte told his European colleagues that the Irish Presidency would focus on European investment in broadband infrastructure as well as legislation to complete the digital single market.

“We have an ambitious plan for roll out of super fast broadband in Ireland. Other countries are very interested in our plans,” Rabbitte said.

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