EU audit set to find Ireland in breach of broadband targets

A NEW EU audit is set to find that Ireland is in breach of European broadband targets.
The European Court of Auditors has picked Ireland as one of five countries measured to see whether agreed targets broadband rollout have been met.
However, the Government’s latest delay on connecting 542,000 rural homes and businesses to broadband means that it is now set to fail the audit test.

All EU citizens are expected to get access to internet services of over 30 megabits per second (Mbs) by 2020. 30Mbs is considered to be the minimum acceptable level for modern internet services in the coming years.
At present, almost a third of the country has no access to broadband of 30Mbs or above.

The Government has signalled that its rural rollout scheme may not now begin connecting users until 2019, with further delays possible.
Communications Minister Denis Naughten has said that at least 200,000 businesses and homes will remain unconnected in 2020.

Under the EU’s ‘Digital Agenda’, there are no specific sanctions or fines for failing to meet the broadband targets.
A separate target requires half of Ireland’s broadband users to have access to speeds of over 100Mbs, a target that is more attainable through high-speed rollout in Irish cities and large towns. EU research suggests an increase of 10pc in broadband connections results in a 1pc GDP increase per capita per year.

Publication of the audit is planned for spring 2018.

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