DESPITE complaints about West Cork’s poor broadband, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment believes Ireland has the capacity to be a global example on how to get connected.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Minister Denis Naughten said: ‘In fact, a lot of the big players in this market are looking to Ireland to see what we are doing because if we can crack this nut we will set the benchmark for everywhere else.’
And he predicted that by the end of 2020, at least 90% of homes here would have access to high speed broadband.
‘There is nowhere in the world at the moment that is envisaging bringing pure fibre broadband to the scale that we are doing it here in Ireland now,’ he said.
‘We are bringing high speed broadband to every single premises in the country – this has not been contemplated by any other country in the world.’
However, he acknowledged that there are ‘very isolated and rural areas that are going to be challenging to provide services to.’
Minister Naughten said his department and companies in the industry are ‘bringing pure fibre broadband – up to 1,000 MB per second – to one rural home, or premises, every minute of every day. That includes West Cork and every other county in Ireland and that is happening on an ongoing basis.
‘We are delivering pure fibre to 300 farms a week through the Eir commitment that I signed last April and you are going to see another announcement in the next couple of weeks in relation to the roll-out of pure fibre to quite a number of provincial towns in Ireland.
‘Siro have ramped up their capacity and they are passing one door of every minute of every day with pure fibre again, so there has been a significant ramp-up over the last six months in relation to the delivery of pure fibre.
‘Companies are spending about €1.7m every day – not just in relation to pure fibre, but in relation to wireless, mobile broadband, and satellite broadband.
‘We are expecting another announcement, later this year, about a very new satellite offering that will provide far greater speeds than would have been envisaged up to now.’
Michael Collins (Ind) explained that a West Cork group, which met the minister in Dunmanway, comprised individuals from all over West Cork including Bandon, Kinsale, Union Hall and into the peninsulas.
Brendan Hurley of Schull-based internet service provider DigitalForge was among them and expressed a concern that wireless providers were under threat from the deployment of the National Broadband Plan.
‘The minister is listening to us as a group but we want to translate that into action. But we are encouraged by the fact that our group – the West Cork Mobile Phone and Broadband Task Force – will be included in the Government’s taskforce, which meets quarterly.’