BROADBAND FOR ALL? – NEW GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE AIMS TO ADDRESS DEFICIT IN RURAL SERVICE BY 2020

8 October 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

PETER HUGHES

Details of a new government initiative with the ambitious objective of substantially addressing the deficit in high-speed broadband availability in rural locations in Co Monaghan and throughout the country by 2020 were outlined to Monaghan Co Council on Monday.

The National Broadband Plan will involve an initial investment of €275 million and has the objective of providing “future-proofed” broadband services to 100% of premises all over Ireland, Ciara Bates of the Dept of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources told the meeting.

Ms Bates said it was estimated that 42% of premises in Co Monaghan would be covered by commercial broadband operators by the end of 2016, and the Government initiative would aim to address the needs of the remaining 58%.

She told the members that the Dept was taking the opportunity in recent months of visiting local authorities and industry to give them an indication of what they were doing in relation to the National Broadband Plan.

Noting that online consumer spending had risen to €6 billion in Ireland in 2014, Ms Bates said there was now a huge demand for heightened broadband services, and the economy was becoming increasingly dependent on them. Availability of high-speed broadband was important to attract foreign direct investment, and sectors such as education, health, agri-business and SMEs were all contributors to increasing demand.

“We are looking to ensure that the services provided are future-proofed and will be able to cater for demand in the years to come,” the Dept representative stated.

Nationally, it was estimated that 70% of premises would be covered commercially by 2016 and the State intervention was to cater for the remaining 30%.

After outlining how the State was supporting the commercial broadband rollout, Ms Bates said the Dept was asking local authorities to look at …

 

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