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Ireland faces challenge in meeting Europe 2020 Broadband targets

The Government faces a significant challenge in meeting the Europe 2020 Broadband targets as outlined by the report of the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce which was published last week. 

The report highlights the major infrastructure and spatial challenges facing Government and its conclusion that up to 30% of the population will only have access to broadband speeds of less that 30Mbps by 2020 is very worrying. 
The Europe 2020 Strategy set three targets for member states in terms of broadband:

  •           Access to basic broadband should be available to all citizens by 2013
  •           Access to broadband with speeds of 30Mpbs or above should be available to all citizens by 2020
  •           50 per cent of European Households should be subscribed to services of 100 Mbps or higher by 2020

Ireland has made significant progress towards meeting the first target, but faces significant challenges in meeting the other targets. According to the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce the spatial distribution patterns in Ireland make the delivery of high speed broadband to isolated rural areas cost prohibitive for industry and it recommends that Government should consider market intervention to ensure services are provided to the population in rural areas.

Another worrying finding in the report is that 20,000 Irish enterprises do not have internet access. Forfás outlined in its 2011 report on Ireland’s Broadband performance of the need for high speed broadband to enable Irish enterprises to remain competitive and to grow. Government strategy of promoting cloud computing as a means of creating jobs and an area for future growth opportunities for Irish enterprises will not work unless it is backed up with the necessary broadband infrastructure to support it.

Next Generation Broadband Taskforce report can be downloaded below

Forfás report can be downloaded below.