Ireland to have ‘world class’ broadband by 2020, department claims

Ireland to have ‘world class’ broadband by 2020, department claims

More than 90% of State’s premises to be covered by fast broadband by end of decade

Ireland will have a rural broadband network comparable to any in the world by 2020, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The Department of Communications has claimed that by the end of 2020, 91 per cent of households in Ireland will have high-speed broadband.

This is based on the current rate of progress with 10,000 homes a month being connected to the network.

National Broadband Plan programme director Fergal Mulligan said that, contrary to some media reports, the Government programme is on course to cover more than 90 per cent of premises by 2020.

He anticipated that the rest, which will be premises in the most isolated areas, will be covered by 2023.

Currently there are 840,000 premises identified as in need of high-speed broadband across Ireland which are not covered by existing broadband providers.

Amber area

More than 300,000 of those premises are being covered on a commercial basis by Eir rural development.

Eir is connecting 30,000 premises to the network every quarter.

The remaining 540,000 more isolated premises will be covered by the Government’s “amber area” scheme, amber representing those areas not regarded as commercially viable for broadband.

Initial tender bids for the programme must be submitted in the next week. Three bidders will be shortlisted for the contract.

Mr Mulligan said the contract would be worth hundreds of millions of euro and amounts to a “massive investment” in rural Ireland.

“The outcome here will be huge for rural Ireland,” he said. “It will put Ireland to the forefront of any country around the world.”

He stated that customers are getting 120Mb broadband through the Eir programme. This level of speed, he suggested, futureproofs the network for the next 10 years.

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