The Government announced a ten-point plan to extend and enhance the provision of broadband services today, RTÉ.ie asks the former chairman of broadband lobby group IrelandOffline, Damien Mulley, for his views on it.

RTÉ.ie: Is the goal of 2010 for universal broadband access realistic?

Damien Mulley: Not realistic no, not unless there is blurring of definitions like what is real broadband. Even if the National Broadband Scheme went live in the morning it would not get completed for two years due to issues with technologies and planning permissions.

RTÉ.ie: Will that involve real broadband or will 3G broadband count towards that goal?

DM: I think the only way of bridging the gap to keep the spin going is to use mobile broadband and satellite and I think both technologies do not suit most people and many on 3G experience mobile dialup not mobile broadband in reality.

RTÉ.ie: Is the €435m investment already spoken for or will companies/projects be able to compete for some of that money?

DM: I think it is a mix of both. It would be nice to see more money to subsidise broadband in the black spots and make sure it is
future-proofed broadband like fibre.

RTÉ.ie: The paper addresses the issue of ducting what is it?

DM: This means tubes/piping underground that can be used to put fibre into and get that fibre to our front door. This is great to see this happening. The biggest cost of rolling out fibre is digging. With ducting in place it means faster rollouts and massively reduced prices.

RTÉ.ie: Can you explain the plan to develop 'far greater access to Government services online' and how this would stimulate demand?

DM: I don't think this will increase demand since there is rabid demand already but it should be an aim for governments already anyway.

Damien Mulley deals with this issue in greater depth here