Today I want to welcome Eircom’s announcement that they are to significantly expand access to high speed fibre broadband in rural Ireland benefiting 19 rural areas in Counties Meath and Westmeath. It is an important start.
Lack of broadband has been a long standing issue in rural Ireland and one that had not been addressed by previous Governments. Today’s news is an important progression.
Eircom’s announcement means the element of the National Broadband Plan that requires State intervention is likely to reduce significantly. The State will be intervening to plug the gaps elsewhere. The Minister for Communications, Alex White is expected to publish the State intervention strategy in July with a view to moving to formal procurement by the end of this year. Roll-out will commence in 2016.
In Westmeath Eircom’s high speed fibre broadband will be expanded to Ballynacargy, Ballymore, Castletowngeoghan, Collinstown, Finea, Glassan, Rosemount and Rathowen.
In Meath Eircom’s high speed fibre broadband will be expanded to Beauparc, Castlejordan, Dunderry, Fordstown, Kilbride, Killeen Castle, Kilsharvan, Lobinstown, Newtown, Robinstown and Tara.
This expanded footprint means Eircom will invest €400 million in fibre nationally over the next five years, hugely benefiting families and business in rural Ireland.