Speaking after the launch of the Digital Hub annual report Peadar Tóibín TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for jobs, enterprise and innovation said:
“In its annual report today the Digital Hub estimated the value of online transactions by 2017 will be €21 billion.
“A key sustainable driver for our long-term economic growth is access to, and promotion of, internet based new technologies.
“We have the skills, expertise and entrepreneurial drive within the Irish technology sector to begin to realise the potential of this sector for economic growth and job creation. However this potential is being squandered by government inaction and piecemeal initiatives.
“A range of studies has found that increasing broadband coverage by 10% delivers a 1% increase in GDP and doubling access speeds increase a GDP by 0.3%.
“During this government’s watch the ranking of this state is now at its lowest ever position in the Global Table for Download and Upload Speeds. Yet the costs of broadband for business and consumers are well above average.
“It should be noted that the Obama administration has earmarked $7.2 billion for broadband roll out. It is a damming indictment that under Pat Rabbitte his department has not laid one additional inch of fibre optic cable in his first year in office.
“The government needs a comprehensive approach to IT through investment in education, support for business and enables access to broadband infrastructure.
“In the north Sinn Féin has supported increased coverage and enhanced broadband speeds. In our economic proposals have consistently costed and included broadband roll out as a major component of sustainable and shovel-ready infrastructure investment.
“If we are to create sustainable jobs in this sector we must invest in infrastructure to ensure that every home and business has access to high speed broad band.
“The government needs to act now before we fall further down the broadband league tables.