Thirty-nine villages around Westmeath suffering from inadequate broadband may be about to see their problems come to an end, on foot of an announcement being made just now by Minister Pat Rabbitte of what is being described as a “major fibre-build-out”.
Minister Rabbitte, who has responsibility for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, is annoucing that the Government has committed to a major telecommunications network build-out to rural Ireland, with fibre as a cornerstone of its investment under the National Broadband Plan.
Nationally, a thousand communities are to benefit from the development, and the areas in Westmeath on the list are:
The Minister said that he will publish a comprehensive implementation strategy later this year, and central to the strategy will be a fibre build-out to locations in every county in the State identified as having no existing or planned enabling fibre network.
The Minister said that high-speed services that have been rolled out in urban areas are possible because the networks on which they are based have a strong fibre component.
The lack of such a fibre network in rural areas has, he explained, inhibited such development in rural areas up to this.
However, he said: “The Government has confirmed that it intends to ensure that rural Ireland enjoys similar opportunities by ensuring an end-to end market intervention with fibre as a core component.”
Deputy Willie Penrose and Cllr Denis Leonard have both welcomed the announcement.