Yesterday’s Connected Ireland conference exuded confidence from the major players tasked with delivering connectivity for the years ahead, and this has been further reinforced by a raft of news from across the country.
Currently there are at least 400,000 rural Irish homes that cannot get even minimal high-speed broadband services (30Mbs) and these will not see high-speed fibre for at least another two years. So for these Elon Musk’s, broadband operator Starlink using ‘low orbit’ satellites may be an option. It is taking orders from Irish customers and promises speeds of between 50Mbs and 140Mbs, although it does warn of “brief periods of no connectivity at all”.
Greater reliability will be on the cards in Dublin where state backed Enet is strengthen its network across the city over the coming months.
Enet’s commercial director, Cormac Ryan, flagged how this will be an important factor in the economic recover from COVID, saying “This investment will provide state-of-the-art data transport options for our customers, and ultimately deliver world-class services that support businesses and end-users.”
In the heart of the country, councillors at Longford County Council yesterday heard from Pat O’Toole of National Broadband Ireland about plans to connect 2,592 premises in the county, but also showcased the problems facing rollout. Much of the connectivity is going to rely on existing infrastructure, predominantly poles from energy supplier ESB, and questions were raised about suitability of the locations.
However Pat O’Toole confirmed "We gave an obligation to serve every premises. We will not be turning around and saying no, you’re too far away. If you’re not connected, we will connect you. If the standard option of dropping an overhead cable is there, we’ll do it. If there’s a pipe, we’ll use that."
Whilst further west, Limerick City and County Council demonstrated commitment to broadband rollout and development of the Council’s digital plans with the appointment of a new head of digital strategy, Alan Dooley.
Finally yesterday, we saw that enhancing connectivity alone isn’t enough – your customers must be happy. Eir chairman apologised for poor customer service earlier in the year. The company has already invested heavily in improving customer service centres with more staff and upgraded equipment and systems.
Eir’s chief executive Carolan Lennon said "You are going to see massive improvement in 2021 and 2022."
If you missed yesterday conference, you may want to read RTE’s key takeaways “National Broadband looking at ways to speed up national roll-out” or view the event on demand.
For more on the issues of building gigabit-capable broadband networks, join our UK focused event, Project Rollout of the 17-18 March 2021