Today’s signing of the contract to proceed with the National Broadband Plan is “one of the defining days in the history of our country and will be the turning point for the revitalisation of rural Ireland”, says Denis Naughten TD.
“When I entered Government my absolute priority as Minister was to ensure that high-speed broadband was provided to close to 1m homes across Ireland and we now have the final phase of this with the last 540,000 households set to get high speed future proofed broadband over the coming years,” added Denis Naughten.
“When I left Government this complex procurement procedure was completed by a dedicated 80-person procurement team and all that remained was to obtain Government approval for the project.
“That team has worked tirelessly over the last four years to bring about today’s contract signing, which now completes this process.
“Some will criticise the cost of this investment, but to put it into context:
- -The Fianna Fail/Green Government signed up to a public subsidy of €85/premise p.a. to bring 2.3mbps to 1 in 4 rural homes, just over a decade ago.
- -The National Broadband Plan will be an effective subsidy of €110/premise p.a. to bring 1,000 mbps to every home in Ireland.
“There is no doubt that over the next 35 years this investment will repay the exchequer in multiples in terms of healthcare, education and innovation. Just as roads came and then electricity, broadband will now be delivered to every townland in Ireland and it will leave a lasting a legacy throughout our country.
“To overcome isolation, to challenge the sense of powerlessness in homes and in parishes across rural Ireland, our children must be able to do their homework, our small enterprises and family farms must be able to do their business on-line if required. This investment will make this a reality.
“When I took office in 2016 only five out of ten premises in Ireland had access to high-speed broadband. Today, that is closer to eight out of ten premises. I am not aware of any other country that has achieved this particular milestone for such a disperse rural population.
“In the last century Ireland was the first country in the world to bring electricity to every home and when this project is completed Ireland will become the first country in the world to bring high speed broadband to every home,” concluded Denis Naughten.