Brad reputation: Irish broadband slammed by Microsoft boss
Microsoft president Brad Smith reiterated his warning that Ireland faces a damaging future if it fails to fix rural broadband quickly.
A 70,000-strong Web Summit conference in Lisbon was told by Mr Smith that one million Irish people are without access to modern high-speed broadband, a state he said threatens the country's progress.
The speech followed a Sunday Independent interview where Mr Smith warned that areas outside Dublin, Cork and other cities would face an "extraordinarily difficult" future for jobs and development without broadband access.
"It's really important that Ireland gets the benefit of this," he said. "With roughly a million people in those areas, it's critical to close the gap. If a rural community doesn't have access to broadband, it makes it extraordinarily difficult to attract new jobs.
"It even makes it difficult to sustain the jobs that are there. And it makes it impossible to take advantage of advances for everything from healthcare to education."
Mr Smith's warning comes as Government nears finalisation of a contract for broadband rollout with David McCourt's National Broadband Ireland, is imminent.