Broadband won't reach rural areas until 2012
RURAL homeowners will have to wait until 2012 for fast broadband access to be rolled out across the country.
A rural broadband scheme will be launched later this year on top of the €220m National Broadband Scheme, as part of the Government's capital investment review.
Broadband levels in Ireland are currently amongst the lowest in western Europe.
Ireland was one of three countries out of 20 with broadband penetration of 25pc or less in a recent international survey.
Rural Ireland fares the worst because the technology necessary to provide broadband needs to be upgraded.
Despite the timeline, news of the scheme was welcomed yesterday as a boost to Government plans to sell Ireland as a smart economy.
"Essentially, this is about directing funds to where maximum return is provided for Ireland," said John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland.
Other developments include the provision of fast broadband to all second-level schools.
Just 78 of 4,000 schools (2pc) currently have high-speed broadband, according to figures from the Department of Education.