IFA President Eddie Downey has welcomed today’s Government announcement of a €275 million allocation for the National Broadband Plan. With additional agreed EU support of €75m, this represents a significant commitment.
He said “The initial stimulus of €275million is a positive step towards delivering high-speed broadband to rural dwellers and the farming community, as set out in the National Broadband Plan.”
However, he said it is very likely that much more funding will be required to deliver fibre broadband to every home and business in rural Ireland.
The delivery of the national broadband scheme is an essential infrastructural project and will greatly assist economic recovery in rural areas by enabling 440,000 households and 70,000 businesses to compete on a level playing pitch with their urban and European counterparts.
IFA believes a fibre broadband network for rural Ireland is necessary. Fibre will ensure the service is accessible to all and it will deliver a high quality solution.
The IFA President said a swift rollout plan is necessary and there must be accountability to ensure that milestones are met and that any solution is future-proofed to ensure that rural-digital divide becomes non-existent.
“Rural Ireland expects this project to be fully delivered by 2020 and adequate Gov. funding to ensure this happens most be provided within this timeframe”, the IFA President concluded.