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6th November 2019
November 6th 2019
Microsoft president Brad Smith has reiterated his warning that Ireland faces a damaging future if it doesn't fix rural broadband quickly.
Speaking to the 70,000-strong Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Mr Smith said that a million Irish people are left without access to modern high speed broadband, a state that 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 the government nears the signing of a contract to begin the rollout of the National Broadband Plan, a state-subsidised program to connect half a million rural homes and businesses to high speed fibre broadband.
Communications Minister Richard Bruton has indicated that the contract, with David McCourt’s National Broadband Ireland, is imminent.
During the Covid-19 crisis, it is to become clearer than ever the need for rural broadband is not a frivolous desire for entertainment but essential for the business. The aim of the new government’s strategy to secure rural employment and entrepreneurship must be two-fold.READ MORE
The ComReg survey – which was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes – shows that 77% of broadband users have seen an increase in the usage of their home broadband service since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. This figure has increased from 61% in April 2020 when the survey was last conducted, highlighting the growing reliance on home broadband services.READ MORE
In Wexford, there are 22,175 premises in the Intervention Area (IA), which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates tp 27 per cent on all premises in the country.READ MORE