The Government has announced that Cork is to receive an investment of €290 million to deliver fibre broadband to almost 75,000 homes in the Intervention Area (IA).
The IA is a mapped area of rural Ireland where high-speed broadband is currently not commercially available. It includes more than 500,000 premises, 56,000 farms and 44,000 businesses.
In Cork, the IA includes Kilbarry, Dromore and Currabeha, as well as nine islands off the coast of West Cork including Bere Island, Sherkin, Dursey and Cape Clear.
As of 2019, 28% of premises in Cork are without high-speed broadband. Across the country, there are 1.1 million people living and working in 540,000 premises who do not have access to broadband. That figure includes 100,000 businesses and farms and more than 600 schools.
The Government approved the appointment of Preferred Bidder, National Broadband Ireland on May 7 of this year.
Head of the National Broadband Ireland Donal Hanrahan said: “In addition to the €290 million we will be investing in Cork, we will also be creating 2,000 jobs across rural Ireland with the national roll-out of broadband, which will be a substantial boost to the local economies.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would like to have the contract signed by mid-September of this year, with results to be seen by Autumn 2020 once the contract is closed.
CEO of the Cork Chamber of Commerce, Conor Healy, said the roll-out of high-speed broadband would make it a level playing field for businesses and offer more options for Foreign Direct Investment: “Improved connectivity is a real positive – not just for businesses operating in areas without access to high-speed broadband – but for our members who interact with suppliers and contractors in rural Cork.
"The plan also covers parts of the city and suburbs where coverage is patchy. Cork is famed for its food production and tourism offering and the provision of high-speed broadband will enable these industries to further evolve.
"The investment of almost €300m in digital connectivity for Cork is very welcome."
Communications Minister Richard Bruton said: "Work is progressing on finalising the contract for the National Broadband Plan.
"It is crucial that we move to sign the contract so that the one million people who today are without access are not left behind. Digital technology is transforming how we live, learn and work.
"We must make sure the people of rural Ireland have the same opportunities as those in our towns and cities."