Sunday 11 December 2016

Taking them to task on tech: Adrian Weckler on where the parties stand on the key issues

Published 18/02/2016 | 02:30

Is there any difference in parties when it comes to tech policy? Photo: Deposit Photo.
Is there any difference in parties when it comes to tech policy? Photo: Deposit Photo.
Broadband
Computers in schools

Is there any difference in who you vote for when it comes to tech policy? Do any of the political parties have anything to say on broadband rollout, mobile phone coverage or data privacy? Do any of them have any aspirations to change financial conditions for startups? Here's a quick guide to how the parties stack up on tech policy.

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Note, only specific policies have been counted. General statements (eg "we support greater digital inclusion" or "there should be more broadband access") have been excluded for lack of detail. The lack of a specific measure advocated is denoted by "not specified".

BROADBAND

Fine Gael: Current National Broadband Plan

Fianna Fáil: Increase speed of National Broadband Plan broadband from currently planned 30Mbs to 1,000Mbs. Restrict the NBP technology to fibre.

Labour: Current National Broadband Plan

Sinn Féin: Minimum speed of 100Mbs available nationwide

Social Democrats: Not specified

Renua: Not specified

Green Party: Minimum 100Mbs “to farms”.

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE

Fine Gael: Not specified

Fianna Fáil: New universal service obligation for 4G and future 5G mobile networks; new €50m State-funded network of rural mobile phone masts to solve blackspots; €200,000 audit of national mobile phone coverage

Labour: Not specified

Sinn Féin: Not specified

Social Democrats: Not specified

Renua: Not specified

Green Party: Not specified

DATA PRIVACY

Fine Gael: Not specified

Fianna Fáil: Not specified

Labour: Not specified

Sinn Féin: Not specified

Social Democrats: Not specified

Renua: Not specified

Green Party: “Oppose web blocking systems”; “protect access to uncompromised encryption”.

STARTUPS AND INVESTORS [Funding, tax]

Fine Gael: Cut capital gains tax on entrepreneurs, “particularly for small exits”

Fianna Fáil: Cut capital gains tax rate for entrepreneurs to 10pc on the first €15m of gains

Labour: Cut capital gains tax relief to 15pc and increase its lifetime limit to €10m

Sinn Féin: Not specified

Social Democrats: Not specified

Renua: Cut capital gains tax relief to 20pc with roll-over relief for disposal of old assets; staff with shares can defer USC/PRSI until sale of shares occurs

Green Party: Not specified

OTHER TECH ISSUES

Fine Gael: ‘All rural pubs to have broadband by 2020.’

Fianna Fáil: Not specified

Labour: “Invest €210m in broadband and technology for schools.”

Sinn Féin: Not specified

Social Democrats: “Piloting free city wifi networks”; training programme for business in how to use social media and networking.

Renua: Elderly people to be given “wearable technology” for emergency contact

Green Party: Use local post offices as storage data centres; new one-stop website for all government services; create a permanent CTO for Ireland; force RTE to provide facilities for digital filmmakers.

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