The provision of super-fast broadband to premises in rural Ireland will have a dramatic impact on the Irish economy

Ireland’s National Broadband Plan will deliver fibre to the home (FTTH) services to 200,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2018, according to the programme’s director, Fergal Mulligan.

Speaking at the Connected Ireland event in Dublin on Tuesday, said that a key pillar of the programme was that no-one would be left behind, especially in Ireland’s rural population.   

"We won’t stop until every single area of the map has been reached," he said.

"We’ve seen huge progress on this project. Ireland’s National Broadband Strategy represents the most significant capital investment in rural Ireland in decades," he added.

Mulligan said that the project had so far provided FTTH services to 100,000 homes and businesses across Ireland, with that figure set to double by the end of 2018.

The Irish Government revealed that there are currently 540,000 premises out to tender

Mulligan said that it was impossible to over-state the importance of rural Ireland to the development of the Irish economy, and that providing FTTH broadband services to remote communities would have a transformative effect on the national economy.

"We have a large, low density population in our rural areas. When it comes to the amount of schools, the amount of business parks and the amount of farms, you have to consider the proximity of them to large urban areas Rural Ireland is very, very different to the situation in most other EU member states," he said.

Mulligan emphasised that broadband FTTH services must be as accessible in rural Ireland as they are in its urban centres. This sentiment was echoed later in the day by Conal Henry, CEO of enet.

"The power of ubiquity is essential. It is going to provide a significant value add to the Irish economy," he said.