Minister Rabbitte delivering a connected society – a National Broadband Plan
30 August 2012
Communications Minister, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, T.D., today launched "Delivering a Connected Society - A National Broadband Plan for Ireland" which will facilitate the provision of high speed broadband to every home and business in the State over the lifetime of the Government. The plan is focussed on ensuring internet speeds for Irish consumers that are much faster than those generally available today. The plan is the result of detailed engagement with stakeholders including the telecommunications industry.
National Broadband Plan Targets:
- 70Mbps - 100Mbps to more than half of the population by 2015;
- At least 40Mbps, and in many cases much faster speeds, to at least a further 20% of the population and potentially as much as 35% around smaller towns and villages; and
- A minimum of 30Mbps for every remaining home and business in the country - no matter how rural or remote.
Launching the plan at the Croke Park Conference Centre this morning Minister Rabbitte said "I want everyone in Ireland to have access to at least 30mbps download speeds no matter how rural their home or business. In addition I'm setting a higher target of at least 40mbps for many areas outside the cities.
"Despite the pressure on Government finances we will invest public funds so as to make sure more thinly populated areas are not left behind. Internet connectivity is now as important for both employment and society as electricity has been for the last 60 years.
"We will also do everything in our power to facilitate commercial investment so that speeds of up to 100Mbps are offered to as many households as possible. Many urban homes can already access that sort of speed but we want to get the regulatory environment right, to strip away barriers to private sector investment and to encourage demand for higher band-with services.
"These are dramatic increases in speeds - particularly for those outside urban centres who often can only access 1Mbps or 2Mbps today. The faster speeds will come from ongoing industry investment, the release, this year, of spectrum for 4G mobile services and from State investment to address market failure. Notwithstanding the constraints imposed on the exchequer at present, Government will intervene where - but only where - it is evident that the market will not deliver. Ireland's population is more broadly dispersed than that of many other countries so reaching the target will require State investment to encourage the private sector to offer services which would not otherwise make commercial sense.
The Plan outlines measures to facilitate the delivery of broadband speeds of between 70 and 100 megabits per second (Mbps) on a commercial basis, to approximately 50% of the population. The Plan also announces the Government's intention to develop an intervention to deliver minimum speeds of between 30 and 40 Mbps to the other 50% of the population which would not be achieved on a commercial basis, thus ensuring that minimum levels of high speed broadband services are accessible to all. Implementation of this plan will see Ireland doing more than meeting the targets set down by the European Commission in the "Digital Plan for Europe"
Emphasising the importance of broadband for jobs, growth and sustainability as well as bridging the digital divide, the Minister added:
"High speed broadband will bring economic and social benefits across Ireland. This Plan lays the foundation for further momentum along our path to recovery. The resulting high speed broadband will be crucial for innovation, crucial for job creation and crucial for the continued attraction of inward investment to Ireland. The emphasis on universal access will ensure balanced benefits, delivering the connected society, at higher speeds, to all."
A copy of the plan can be found here.