Delay to National Broadband Plan widens the digital divide between urban and rural Ireland
Apr 27, 2016
It is very disappointing to read today that the Government has confirmed a delay in the roll out of the National Broadband Plan. Reports state that the plan will be delayed due to planning and procedural issues and negotiations with those bidding to deliver the plan will not commence until later this year. This could potentially delay delivery of broadband by two years and completion of the plan to 2022.
Businesses operating outside of our urban centres across Ireland will be hugely disappointed to learn about this further delay in delivering essential broadband to rural Ireland. During the recent General Election campaign the need for investment in high speed broadband infrastructure was frequently raised by the Chamber Network as vitally important to the business community outside of our main urban areas. Delivering the national broadband plan is a competitiveness issue as lack of broadband capacity in a region undermines the ability of regionally located Irish businesses to compete internationally and prevents workers living in rural areas being able to work remotely, very often a necessity in a modern enterprise.
When in place, the next government must address this issue immediately and work to overcome the planning issues to ensure that the roll out of the National Broadband Plan begins in 2016. High speed broadband in all areas of Ireland is now an economic necessity and the next government must expedite the planning and procurement process to ensure that the digital divide between urban and rural areas can be reduced and eliminated within the next five years. Improved broadband infrastructure will enable rural based entrepreneurs and small business owners to grow and create employment opportunities in their own localities.
For more information on our Broadband policy read our Vision 2021 manifesto here
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