Doubts raised about Irish rural broadband plan header image

The Irish government's plan to make super-fast broadband widespread in rural areas may not be feasible, according to an industry expert.

Colm O'Neill, chief executive of BT Ireland, told the Irish Independent he is doubtful about whether it will be possible to fulfil the authorities' proposals for connections of 30 Mbps to be established across the nation. 

"I think physics and economics will say that 30 Mbps to all rural areas is not feasible," he stated.

Mr O'Neil claimed the priority should be on providing a service that is generally better and more reliable, rather than focusing exclusively on speed. He told the newspaper many rural households in Ireland can only access connections of one Mbps and even improving this to three Mbps would "genuinely be a step forward".

"Two to three Mbps is generally accepted across the EU as the level at which you can access most services without flaws," the BT chief added.

Mr O'Neil said the layout of rural housing in Ireland makes improving internet access very difficult and properties that are more than two km from a broadband cabinet are hard to connect to BT's fibre optic service.

Ireland is the not only nation where rural residents are struggling with poor quality connections. Things are similar in many parts of the UK and some people who live in the countryside are unable to make the most of the benefits of going online. 

The government is aiming to make super-fast internet available to 90 per cent of the country through its Broadband Delivery UK project, but the scheme is currently running behind schedule and is unlikely to be completed before 2017.

However, this is not the only option for rural residents, as satellite broadband is ideally suited to bringing high-speed and reliable connections to the countryside. Furthermore, the Tooway service provided by Avonline is available in both Ireland and the UK.

Click here to learn why satellite is the perfect choice for going online in rural locations.

Posted by Mark Wynn