Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, along with colleague Fergus O’Dowd, convened a high level task force yesterday charged will formulating policies on how best to roll-out ubiquitous high speed broadband to all areas of Ireland.
The Next Generational Broadband Taskforce comprises of ten leading telecommunications companies operating in Ireland and CEOs of some Irish Internet service providers (ISPs). The task force will outline how best to deliver high speed broadband across Ireland and will publish their findings by March 2012.
Due to lack of appropriate investment by previous governments and an incumbent Irish telecommunications company, Ireland is far behind most other European countries as regards broadband infrastructure. The need for adequate broadband coverage is all the more urgent as 2,000 tech-related jobs have been created in Ireland in the past six months, according to Silicon Republic.
Minister Rabbitte said of the aims of the task force,
“Delivery of high speed broadband to all parts of Ireland is an essential Government priority. It will underpin economic growth and recovery, as well as providing important dividends in terms of education, health and other social benefits. I am confident that we will see rapid progress. Industry is already investing heavily in this area in Ireland, and our aim is to accelerate this investment.”
Under the Digital Agenda for Europe, the European Commission has set targets for universal broadband provision by 2013. Work in this regard is already well underway with the newly introduced Rural Broadband Scheme.
Targets of 30Mbps minimum broadband speed for all citizens and 100Mbps for half of all citizens by 2020 have also been set by the European Commission. It is hoped that the task force will help achieve such targets well in advance of this date.