Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (30)

Pat Deering

Question:

30. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the estimated impact the national broadband plan will have on transforming business in rural Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27102/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

It is projected that the National Broadband Plan (NBP) will connect 44,000 small and micro businesses in rural areas where high speed broadband will operate. This will lead to significant productivity gains for these businesses as it will allow them to connect to new markets, engage in eCommerce and develop a wider national and global footprint.

High-quality broadband is essential to supporting the attractiveness of regional locations to investment and will further increase Ireland’s competitiveness in a global context. The availability of this enabling technology is vital for addressing the digital divide between urban and rural Ireland, and will also help to mitigate against the effects of Brexit in rural communities.

In line with Future Jobs Ireland 2019 aspirations, high-speed broadband will help to diversify the rural economy and offer further options for flexible working arrangements, such as remote working. This in turn will lead to reduced transport emissions as a result of shorter commuting distances.

The NBP is a cornerstone in the progress of Ireland’s digital transformation and our participation in the digital economy. With the roll-out of high-speed broadband to rural Ireland our strong position on the EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) will be further cemented into the future.

Question No. 31 answered with Question No. 29.