Government starts logging reach of broadband

Rabbitte to appoint ‘digital champion’ to oversee delivery of ambitious high speed services

Mon, Jul 1, 2013, 10:04

The Government has begun a mapping exercise to identify the reach of current broadband services across the State and to find out what plans telecommunications companies have for their development.

The exercise will inform the roll-out of a National Broadband Plan and help identify where and to what extent State intervention will be required especially in remote areas.

The plan envisages a high speed broadband service throughout the Republic with general download speeds of between 40 and 70 Mb per second (Mbps) and services of at least 30Mbps in more remote areas. It is anticipated that half of the population will have access to services of up to 70Mbps by 2015 and a majority of those will enjoy speeds of up to 100Mbps.

The mapping exercise, announced by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, will inform the Department of requirements which will be met by State intervention and outline the scope for investment by the EU.

Advertisements have appeared in the press urging all providers of internet access services to take part in the voluntary mapping procedure.

“The Government considers it important to encourage full participation from the telecommunications industry as the information gathered will be used to justify an intervention in the market in accordance with the EU State Aid guidelines,” the Department says.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte is to appoint a “Digital Champion” to spearhead the delivery of the National Digital Strategy. His department will later chair an implementation group which will report on the development of services.

The plan aims to lever investment from both State and commercial bodies and to surpass ambitious targets agreed at EU level for minimum broadband speeds and the widespread availability of high speed broadband services throughout the State.