On 30 August 2012, I published the National Broadband Plan, which contains ambitious targets for high speed broadband services across Ireland. The Plan is available on my Department’s website.
The National Broadband Plan will deliver on these targets by leveraging investment from both private and public sectors. The Plan envisages that industry will be the key driver of investment with State intervention only where there is market failure.
Approximately €1bn is being invested in Ireland by existing companies in fibre infrastructure which will deliver broadband speeds of 30Mbps to 150Mbps to most homes and businesses by 2015. Mobile telecommunications operators will be rolling out advanced mobile broadband products in 2013, following the recent multi-band spectrum auction.
The Government is committed in the Plan to investing in areas where high speed services are not commercially viable and will not be provided by the market. The total funding involved for any State intervention has been indicatively estimated in the Plan at €350 million, €175 million of which will come from public funding sources with the other €175 million from the successful commercial service provider(s) emerging from a public procurement process. The actual cost to the State will be determined by the structure and outcome of the procurement process which will be designed to ensure value for money.
The precise source of funding of the necessary State investment will be decided at the appropriate time by Government. I anticipate that in advance of this decision my Department will discuss the matter with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and NewERA. In any event I wish to underline the Government’s commitment to the Plan and to the securing of the necessary funding.