Price tag of €2.5bn to build NGA networks
It could cost up to €2.5bn to construct new telecoms infrastructure in Ireland which would enable consumers and businesses to access services such as high-definition TV over the internet.
A report to be published today by the Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF) -- the IBEC-affiliated industry body -- warns that Ireland "must act quickly to avoid being left behind other countries that are accelerating investment" in next generation access networks (NGAs).
NGAs typically include the infrastructure that connects customers with the core transport network of telecoms operators. They include mobile mast infrastructure, for example, and optical fibres installed in people's homes or businesses.
The TIF report, which was undertaken by consulting group Analysys Mason, says NGAs have the potential to drive economic recovery by enhancing the development of Ireland's so-called 'smart-economy'.
However, it also points out that the high cost of deploying the networks in Ireland poses a significant challenge, as a gap exists between the price consumers are prepared to pay for network access, and the cost of building the network.
Last week, in its new draft strategy document, telecoms watchdog Comreg said that while the demand for bandwidth in Ireland is growing strongly, requiring considerable investment in infrastructure, revenues and profits in the industry have been falling.