I have no plans to introduce a broadband charge on Irish households.
In Ireland, businesses and citizens can obtain a broadband service from a multiplicity of service providers operating in the market. The market is competitive with prices being determined by competitive dynamics between the various operators.
The State has also intervened to ensure that basic broadband services are available in those areas where commercial operators have not invested. This has generally been implemented in cooperation with private service providers on foot of a competitive process. Prices for these services would reflect market norms.
The combination of private investment and State interventions means that Ireland has met the EU Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe target of having a basic broadband service available to all areas by 2013, and the focus is now on accelerating the roll out of high speed services.
The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August last, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed services of at least 30Mbps are available to all of our citizens and businesses, well in advance of the EU’s target date of 2020, and that significantly higher speeds are available to as many homes and businesses as possible. This will be achieved through a combination of private and public sector investment.