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Doherty calls for debate on broadband and next generation internet

2 July, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Speaking in the Seanad today Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty said a pilot project of next generation network internet could be piloted in Donegal for as little as a couple of hundred thousand euros.

Calling for a debate on broadband provision Senator Doherty said Countries like Japan are no longer looking at broadband or next generation but at next-next generation and that we need to catch up fast.

He said, "There has been much discussion about the economy and how it is going into recession. When we face difficult times, we need to invest in our infrastructure. I have called for numerous debates and numerous Senators have called for a debate on what is happening in respect of the national development plan, particularly the areas which have not seen the benefit of the Celtic tiger over the past ten years.

"I ask the Leader for a debate on broadband. A survey on communications by the European Commission showed that, again, Ireland lags well behind with the highest costs and lowest speeds. We are the only country in Europe where more people used narrowband or dial-up than broadband. This is a serious issue if we wish to be a knowledge-based economy and want to get out of the recession. We need a debate on it.

"We need a debate particularly because an international advisory committee has been set up to deal with next generation networks. Countries like Japan are not even looking at next generation, they are looking at next-next generation. We need to catch up fast.

"There is a way for us to help regional development. I spoke to the experts who were here last week. In respect of areas like Donegal, we could, with only a couple of hundred thousand euro, test pilot next generation networks. Can one imagine what that could do for places that have 18% unemployment?

"In light of the growing demands for a debate on the economy, I ask that we deal with the issue of broadband and next generation and that the Minister come to the House to give us an update about what is happening and what can be done in the short term." ENDS

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