Ireland's Rabbitte unveils ambitious national broadband plan

Pat Rabbitte, Ireland's communications minister, on Friday announced an ambitious national broadband plan to provide a minimum of 30 Mbps speeds to every consumer and business in the country.

Calling his plan "the rural electrification of the 21st century," Rabbitte's plan calls for three broadband tiers. In addition to enabling 30 Mbps for every user, he envisions 70-100 Mbps for 50 percent and 40 Mbps for 20 percent of the of the country's population.

Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister, said in an Ireland Times article that the government would provide €200 million ($251.3 million) that would be matched by private investment from service providers and other companies.

Rabbitte's plan follows the release of "Delivering a Connected Society – A National Broadband Plan for Ireland," which is based on the Report of the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce that was published last May.

It's clear that Ireland's consumers and businesses like broadband. According to the Irish Times, broadband adoption rose from 400,000 in 2007 to nearly 1.7 million.

What's also telling about this plan is that it comes as the country's key wireline operators, namely former government-run incumbent eircom and BT Ireland (NYSE: BT), are ramping up their respective fiber-based broadband roll outs.

eircom, which recently rehired Herb Hribar to lead the telco as their new CEO, set an aggressive timeline to roll out both Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) networks to 1 million homes by 2015.

No less compelling is BT Ireland's reemergence into the country's broadband market. The UK-based telco plans to conduct a Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) service trial in various Ireland markets with the aim of providing a VDSL-based 80 Mbps service for wholesale customers.

For more:
- Irish Times has this article

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