Business Irish

Monday 19 March 2018

Slow net will discourage investors

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

NEW research says smaller rural towns which will get slower internet speeds under the National Broadband Plan will be at a big disadvantage when it comes to investment from companies.

Under the National Broadband Plan, urban areas will get very fast broadband speeds of 70-100Mbps, while rural locations will get a maximum 30-40Mbps.

A new report presented yesterday said this will prove a disadvantage to enterprise development in rural areas.

Deirdre Frost of rural Ireland enterprise agency the Western Development Commission said the trend for ever-higher data speeds shows no sign of abating, meaning 30-40Mbps will not be enough in years to come and smaller towns may be at a considerable disadvantage compared to larger urban centres. At an engineering conference in Dublin yesterday, she said this will particularly impact the west of Ireland.

Ms Frost said other countries are managing to provide fast internet speeds even to very rural areas.

Finland aims to provide 100Mbps speeds to 99pc of its low density population by 2015.

The Irish government has committed €175m towards the current broadband plan.

At the same event, senior Eircom executive Geoff Shakespeare said this money should be used to get fibre power broadband to as many people as possible, rather than building up wireless services, because it provides more value for money in the long term.

He said Eircom is making more progress towards rolling out the service in one day than UPC did in a month at its peak.

Eircom will also introduce a television service using fibre powered broadband later this year.

Irish Independent

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