Biggest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification set to deliver high speed broadband to 1.1 million people
19th November, 2019: National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company established by worldwide investors in technology, media and telecommunications, Granahan McCourt, today signed a landmark State contract with the Irish Government to deliver the country’s National Broadband Plan (NBP).
The project is one of the most ambitious of its kind globally and will end the current digital divide between urban and rural communities. It will provide equal opportunities for every home, farm and business in Ireland.
Granahan McCourt founder and NBI chairman David McCourt, said: “The National Broadband Plan is a momentous infrastructure project to empower and rejuvenate rural Ireland, which – until now – has remained significantly underserved by high speed connectivity. We want to see residents and businesses thriving in rural parts of the country, and ensure they have a bright and sustainable future, with the same opportunities as those in urban areas.”
The announcement comes following the European Commission approved €2.6 billion of State aid for the National Broadband Plan. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “The National Broadband Plan in Ireland is expected to address the significant digital divide between urban and rural areas in Ireland, enabling Irish consumers and businesses to benefit from the full potential of digital growth.”
Ireland’s National Broadband Plan aims to radically change the broadband landscape across the country, ensuring that all citizens and businesses have access to high speed broadband no matter where they live or work. This will be delivered through a combination of commercial and State led investment. Once completed, 100% of the population will have access to a modern and reliable broadband network, capable of supporting current and future generations.
The scheme will involve laying 146,000km of fibre cable to connect every one of the 537,000 premises in the roll-out area. The full deployment across 96% of Ireland’s land mass is recognised as one of the most ambitious telecom infrastructure projects globally.
Ireland’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar said: “Broadband will be the biggest investment in rural Ireland ever. We can have more people working from home, a better work-life balance, fewer car journeys, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. We can connect better with the world, with family members, with business, with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Every school in the country will be able to access digital technologies for teaching, while healthcare professionals can check in and monitor patients remotely no matter where they are based.”
Referred to by the Economist as possessing ‘impeccable credentials as a telecom revolutionary’, David McCourt continued: “This is an incredibly proud day for Granahan McCourt as we have brought our years of deep industry knowledge and experience into this project. Today’s announcement will help cement Ireland’s competitiveness on the world stage for decades to come.
“Our team includes some of the best and brightest minds in telecoms, with experience funding, financing and managing €40bn of infrastructure assets. We have built 24 National Telecom Networks across Ireland, Europe, US and Central America and deployed over 120,00km of fibre across 56 projects. The size and scale of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan will pave the way as the blueprint for other nations and we can’t wait to get started.”