The government announces plans to bring broadband to the entire island of Ireland by September 2010.
Initial plans were that nationwide broadband would be in place by the end of 2009. The company awarded the contract 3 claim that the new deadline of September 2010 would now be met. Chief Executive of 3 Robert Finnegan is confident that the people and technology are in place and they are now actively looking for sites.
According to the report, approximately one third of the country is without broadband. 170 jobs will now be created to fill the gap in broadband provision at a cost of around €750 million. Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan TD says that the roll out of broadband will provide a major boost to employment.
Crucially, it allows people in that one third of the country that previously couldn't get broadband to now use those broadband services to create employment, to create jobs to sell to the world, and we are good at that and we are now going to be able to do it and going to be ahead of the rest of the world.
Opposition parties welcome the signing of the contract but express concerns that the quality of the broadband on offer is not top specification. Fine Gael Communications spokesperson Simon Coveney expresses serious concerns over the technology being used and what it can deliver.
Commentator Damien Mulley believes that there will be some planning opposition despite the fact that many rural areas are desperate for broadband.
Some analysts have also warned that planning permission will be required in certain locations, which could cause delays.
Given this is deemed to be critical infrastructure, the September 2010 deadline will be watched closely.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 22 January 2009. The reporter is Paul Cunningham.