Ireland still has close to a million people who are unable to access superfast broadband services

David McCourt’s National Broadband Ireland consortium looks set to win a €3 billion tender to provide superfast broadband services across the Republic of Ireland.

According to a report in The Times, the Irish government has concluded that there is no viable plan B for the provision of 30Mbps services to some 540,000 homes across the country.

Ireland has made substantial progress in its superfast broadband penetration levels, which have risen from 50 per cent to 76 per cent. However, the Irish government says that there are still over a million people who do not have access to superfast services.

The Irish government has set itself the target of reaching 90 per cent of the population with superfast services by the year 2020.

The Irish government is considering delivering superfast broadband via fixed wireless access when it rolls out 5G network services next year. However, with the country’s sparse population density and challenging topography, transmission is expected to be a problem.

“We still don’t have universal 4G coverage so it’s a bit of a pipe dream to suggest we are going to have universal 5G coverage to deliver the national broadband plan,” the country’s communications minister, Richard Bruton, said.

“As things stand, the best technology is fibre; you can’t beat that. There is no wireless at the moment that actually goes beyond that for download speeds,” he added.

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