‘Bringing high-speed broadband up a mountain won’t happen overnight’

Bringing high-speed broadband up the side of a mountain won’t happen overnight, according to the Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten.

The Roscommon-Galway TD was responding to a parliamentary question from Deputy Timmy Dooley on the roll out of broadband by 2020 last week.

He said that what the Government is being told by the experts who are advising them is that it will take between three and five years to roll out this network.

“We expect that we will have 60% of the network rolled out within the first two years, but to roll it out to every single building and premises in Ireland will take time.

“If we are bringing high-speed broadband up the side of a mountain, that will not happen overnight, but we will see once the contracts are signed.”

He said that The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, will be very engaged very early on in this process.

“Questions will be taken later regarding this, but we expect that whoever the contractor is will hit the ground running and will start rolling out broadband, and a substantial number of the houses in question will get access to that quite quickly,” he said.

Meanwhile on broadband speeds, the Minister for Communications said that minimum requirement will be 30 megabits per second (Mbps).

At the moment, at EU level, there is a guideline of 30Mbps. It is not binding, it does not state that it is a minimum or maximum and there is no way of enforcing it.

“During the consultation process, there have been a number of rounds of consultation about this – some of the prospective bidders said that 30 Mbps was too high.

“At present, the UK is considering a universal service obligation of 10 Mbps in rural areas. What we are saying, therefore, is that this would be the very minimum and would be reviewed on an ongoing basis, based on the needs and demands.

Based on the technologies that are used, the Minister said that the actual speeds may be higher than that when it comes about.