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COMMENT: Dublin will benefit from broadband investment

Monday, 13th May, 2019 7:59am
COMMENT: Dublin will benefit from broadband investment

Dublin will get €31 million as part of the broadband investment. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: Dublin will benefit from broadband investment

Dublin will get €31 million as part of the broadband investment. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: Richard Bruton

DIGITAL technology is transforming how we live, learn and work. The National Broadband Plan is the key to ensuring that everyone in Ireland will have equal access to a high-speed broadband service.

This will allow every citizen throughout Ireland to seize the opportunities arising from technology, including education, health, enterprise, environment, smart farming, social inclusion, rural and regional development, tourism, and transportation.

There are currently 10,000 homes across Dublin without access to high-speed broadband who will benefit from this plan. This will create an Ireland where every citizen and business can progress together.

The Government has agreed to invest up to a maximum €3 billion (including €545m conditional subsidy and €354m in VAT) to lay down 150,000km of fibre using 1.7million poles to deliver future-proofed broadband to 540,000 homes, farms, schools and businesses in the country over the next 25 years. Of that, €31 million will go to Dublin to make sure that 100 per cent of premises in this county have access to state-of-the-art broadband, regardless of how remote or rural it is where you live or work.

In 1999, our telecoms infrastructure was sold to the private sector. Private investors have committed to deliver high-speed broadband to homes in built-up areas. However, for 25 percent of our population, such a future-proofed service will not be available without the Government’s investment. We believe that this is an investment worth making and is essential to the future of Irish society.

Some have questioned whether the State should insist on owning the new poles and fibre network at the end of the 25-year contract. That was considered. However, this network will deliver a better service if fully integrated into the wider telecommunications infrastructure of the country, rather than if it remained an isolated asset handed back to the State.

This Government is investing in technology that will ensure Ireland is to the forefront in terms of digital technology infrastructure. For all the reasons above and all those we haven’t even thought about yet, we believe this investment is one worth making.

Richard Bruton is Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

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