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State must develop broadband infrastructure for rural Ireland – Colreavy

25 September, 2015 - by Michael Colreavy TD

Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, has called for the broadband network infrastructure proposed under the new National Broadband Plan to be held in public ownership.

Deputy Colreavy said:

“It is recognised that the market will not invest in next generation networks in all areas as the commercial case is weaker in more rural areas.

“In order to ensure that regional and rural areas are not disadvantaged, additional State investment will be required to deploy next generation infrastructure outside the main urban centres.

“A report commissioned by the World Bank found that an additional 10 broadband lines per 100 people increased the GDP of a country by 1.21%.

“It was found that in Britain, with the rollout of high speed broadband in the mid-to-late 2000s, consumer spending online increased from $14 billion in 2006 to $45 billion in 2010.

“It is clearly demonstrated that the benefit of rolling out high speed broadband to every home in the country would have a significant benefit to the Irish economy.

“While the option of state ownership may have an extra initial cost compared to relying on private industry, this could well be covered in the medium to long term if there is a sufficient take up of high speed broadband.

“Australia is an example of where state owned broadband infrastructure has delivered for the country.

“The National Broadband Network in Australia is the largest publicly funded infrastructure project in the history of the country.

“It aims to build a 1Gb network reaching 93% of Australian households and businesses.

“As Ireland is an island nation, and an economy that involves a large proportion of agriculture and tourism, it can be expected that the take up of high speed broadband would be significant.

“To this end, state ownership and state control of the broadband network as part of an intervention strategy is the best option available to the government.” 

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