Sunday 4 December 2016

National broadband plan will fail those in our country areas

High-speed internet access is more important than ever but getting fibre to all homes is not the way forward in rural Ireland, writes Brian O'Donohoe

Published 20/11/2016 | 02:30

The latest Switcher.ie survey brought in to focus the huge variance of broadband speeds across Ireland and the real problems facing rural businesses and communities without high-speed internet access.

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The National Broadband Plan, the Government's initiative to provide high-speed fibre internet connections to every home in the country, has been hit with setbacks, budget cuts and delays almost since its inception. This problem seems destined to continue with no end in sight. What was supposed to be delivered in 2015 is now not even planned to start until mid-2018 and is unlikely to fully materialise until 2023 at the earliest. This will leave thousands of rural households and businesses with a prohibitively slow internet connection.

While it's a difficult question to confront, we shouldn't be afraid to ask it: is the National Broadband Plan in its present form actually feasible? Considering our geography and existing infrastructure, is it financially and logistically possible to deliver high-speed fibre-optic internet to every home in Ireland?

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