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Broadband – Barrier To Job Creation

Mid West - Unplugged

Speaking in the Dáil recently, Deputy Noel Coonan described as ‘really maddening’ Minister Eamon Ryan’s comments that he anticipates an increase in the demand for high speed broadband into the future.
Deputy Coonan asked about progress in creating a ‘one-stop shop’ to which the Minister for Communications said the context for the proposal is ‘the anticipated increase in demand for high speed broadband into the future.’
In response, the North Tipperary Fine Gael TD said:

“In the three years since I have been a Member of the House, I have heard the Minister pontificate about what he is doing in terms of broadband and set targets which he has consistently failed to meet.  To hear him say he anticipates a demand for high speed broadband is really maddening, especially if one comes from my region of the mid-west which has a higher than average rate of unemployment. Shannon Development has stated clearly that the most significant barrier to job creation in the mid-west is the lack of a high speed broadband system.  It is simply not there.  Metropolitan Area Networks have been in the ground and waiting connection for years and it is frustrating for broadband providers and the general public. I would like a time-frame and for the Minister to state when this will happen.  He could have given this answer last September.  I do not want to listen to the same story from the Minister next September,” said Deputy Coonan.

Ireland is still behind the EU average broadband penetration rate and there is less broadband penetration in rural areas than in urban areas. Ireland’s ranking in the EU’s Broadband Performance Index is 23rd out of 29 countries.

Ireland, is grouped in the fifth and lowest cluster group with Latvia, Hungary, and Estonia. The socio-economic context is more favourable in Ireland than in the other countries, but high prices and low speeds, limit its performance, as a result of weak competition. High prices, low speeds and limited rural coverage, hold back performance for the whole group.

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