July 18, 2024

Government plans to ‘fast-track’ broadband for isolated rural areas

THE Government plans to ‘fast-track’ broadband access for rural communities in Kilkenny and across the country by the end of next year, according to reports this morning.

Under the plan, the first of 540,000 rural homes and businesses under the State-sponsored scheme would get high-speed broadband in 2019, ahead of the expected 2020 rollout.

The move comes after a report published yesterday found the State tender process for the massive infrastructure project was not compromised by contacts between former Communications Minister Denis Naughten and David McCourt of Granahan McCourt, the US venture capital group that leads the only consortium still left in the bidding race.

This effectively gives the Government the green light to conclude negotiations with the rural broadband consortium.

According to a report in today’s Irish Independent, the contract for the project is expected to be signed in January.

Under the broadband plan, fibre-optic lines will be physically laid in areas of the country that have never received proper internet services.

However, up to 50,000 homes in the most remote areas of the country may be provided with the latest wireless technology instead.


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