Dáil debates

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

National Broadband Plan Implementation

11:50 am

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

There is no doubt the availability of high-speed broadband in rural areas will have a transformative effect. As I have stated, high-speed broadband will be the most basic service in the long term and will be thought of like rural electrification. We will look back on this as being a very important decision, with people probably being puzzled as to why there was so much controversy about it. The changes it will facilitate are very broad-based and home working is very definitely one of those. I recall from the estimates of benefits to be accrued in the cost-benefit analysis that currently only 4% of the working population avail of remote working. There are reports today that this has moved to 10% and many companies are now making a standard provision in this respect.

There will be an additional benefit in that in more rural locations, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland will find it much easier to locate new investment because they will have the confidence that staff and employees can have access to high-speed broadband and the sort of connectivity that this provides. This has been a barrier to investment in the past. There is extraordinary potential in other areas, including remote health or remote education. As we have already seen in the past couple of years, we are increasingly dependent on connectivity to run our lives. This dependence will increase, which is why it so important that rural Ireland can be involved with the very same technologies as urban dwellers.


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