Ireland plans to hit ambitious digital targets through commercial investment in gigabit services and the National Broadband Plan, which just hit a new milestone.

The Irish Government has revealed a new strategy to help Ireland’s digital transformation for the rest of the decade.

The country’s new digital connectivity strategy sets out a number of ambitious targets. This includes having all business and homes connected to a gigabit network by 2028.

Under this strategy, all populated areas will be covered by 5G by 2030. In the shorter term, the Government plans to complete the delivery of digital connectivity to all broadband connection points and all schools by 2023.

The delivery of this strategy will be overseen by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

The goal is to hit these targets through the National Broadband Plan, which aims to connect more than 1.1m people across Ireland in locations where commercial operators do not currently provide high-speed connectivity.

The targets will also be achieved through commercial investment in gigabit services and the implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy, which aims to create international connectivity infrastructure to and from Ireland that is resilient and robust.

The Government said digital connectivity is a pre-requisite to ensure disadvantaged groups are not left behind and can fully embrace digital opportunities.

Minister of State Ossian Smyth, TD, said a massive investment of State and private money is going to technology and infrastructure “so we can all work, study and access entertainment and information wherever we live”.

“This will ensure Ireland’s future as a great place to live and to do business,” Smyth said. “Today’s strategy sets out our path to reliable high-speed internet access all over Ireland by 2028.”

NBI hits milestone

Meanwhile, National Broadband Ireland (NBI) says it has hit a new milestone by connecting 25,000 homes, farms and businesses to its high-speed rural network.

NBI is the company responsible for delivering the National Broadband Plan on behalf of the Irish Government.

The company said that, as of 1 December, more than 102,000 premises can now order high-speed fibre broadband from an NBI retail partner.

The company also highlighted the benefits to the tourism and hospitality sector, particularly in Kerry, which has a high proportion of jobs that are dependent on these sectors.

NBI said 6,465 premises in Kerry can now connect to NBI network. Killarney’s Cahernane House Hotel held an NBI event today (9 December) to mark the milestone achievement.

The hotel’s general manager Emer Corridan said it has experienced “great benefits” from being connected to the fibre network with guaranteed download speeds of 500Mbps, having “previously had download speeds of 16Mbps”.

“Our business is more efficient and most importantly, our guests are extremely satisfied with the broadband access they now have when they stay with us,” Corridan said.

NBI CEO Peter Hendrick said last month saw the “highest number of premises connected” to NBI’s network in a single month to date.

The company has previously been criticised for delays in delivering high-speed internet based on initial targets.

In April, a report by the Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) said the plan “does not represent value for money to the taxpayer”. There had been an agreed target with NBI to have 115,000 premises passed by the end of January 2022.

An interim remedial plan was submitted by NBI which had a revised target of 60,000 premises. The actual number of premises passed by the network by 31 January was 34,454, according to the PAC report. By February, only 6,000 homes had signed up to receive fibre broadband.

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