Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte today launched the Report of the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce.
The report is part of a collaboration between the Government and the CEOs of all the main telecommunications companies in Ireland.
The taskforce aims to assist the Government in developing an informed and ambitious National Broadband Plan for Ireland.
"Industry is telling us that by 2015 more than 50% of the population will have access to very fast broadband – at least 70 Mbps," said Minister Rabbitte, speaking at the launch today in Dublin’s Digital Hub.
"We can also expect that most of the rest of Irish homes will be able to access broadband which, by today’s standards would be considered very good quality.
"However, we face a major challenge because 15-30% of the population will continue to have basic broadband service only, as the case for commercial investment in rural areas is very challenging."
Today's report, which has been in progress since June 2011, highlights areas where Government and industry can work together to make an impact and makes 42 specific recommendations under five headings:
- Industry investment plans and likely gaps;
- Stimulation of demand for broadband services;
- Planning reforms to accelerate build out of essential telecoms infrastructure;
- Spectrum policy;
- The role of state infrastructure and services.
A four week consultation period with users and other stakeholders will run through May, after which the Minister will publish a National Broadband Plan for Ireland.
Observations can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
The report has been welcomed by the Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF), the IBEC group that represents the electronic communications sector.
"The telecommunications industry welcomes the agreement of targets for next generation broadband provision," TIF Direcetor Torlach Denihan said.
“Industry’s ability to contribute to both Ireland meeting the EU’s Digital Agenda targets and to national economic recovery is dependent on the implementation of the taskforce report.
"We look forward to working with the Minster for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the various stakeholders on the development of the National Broadband Plan over the coming months."