IrelandOffline welcomes the recently published Innovation Taskforce report

The recently published report by the Innovation Taskforce1 has singled out Ireland’s broadband situation as a critical priority in need of investment if innovation is to be enabled and exploited. The authors of the report identify a number of sectors for innovative opportunities and all of them are communications sensitive.

IrelandOffline has been campaigning for many years for improved broadband services and has welcomed the suggestions made by the high-level group. Amongst the suggestions that IrelandOffline considers essential is that all public infrastructure include provision for shared ducting for communications services. The Innovation Taskforce includes the following recommendation “provision of access to public ducting infrastructure by establishing the planned “one stop shop” This idea has already been put forward by IrelandOffline and we are presently examining regional development plans to ensure they include open access ducting in their infrastructure actions.

IrelandOffline spokesman Eamonn Wallace said “basic facilities such as water and electricity are included in development plans without question, the Innovation Group has now created a requirement that communications facilities be treated in the same way. IrelandOffline continues to research the options for building in to new developments the required telecommunications infrastructure. However these recommendations are the same as in previous reports, we hope the opportunity now is taken to turn the recommendations into concrete proposals

In addition to longer term planning IrelandOffline insists that ComReg, the communication regulator and the Department of Communications must supervise the roll-out of high speed reliable broadband more closely. IrelandOffline has repeatedly taken the regulator to task for allowing less than optimal services such as 3G be called broadband. The Innovation Report has endorsed this by pointing out that “uncontended access” (user does not have to share bandwidth with other users due to network constraints) is an absolute requirement for proper broadband facilities.2

The Innovation Report quoted a Forfas survey which identifies the Irish broadband situation in the following terms “In Ireland, 5 percent of broadband connections are above 10Mb/s. The EU-24 average is 15.5 percent of connections above 10 Mb/s” IrelandOffline has used similar data to identify the ground that Ireland has to make up if it is serious about being a major player in the so-called smart economy.

Notes and References
2 “Uncontended Access” means that the last mile to your home is managed in a way that GUARANTEES you the bandwidth you pay for. With ADSL you have an exclusive copper line and with fibre or copper or fixed wireless there are effective sharing techniques that guarantee you your share. With 3G mobile this is technically impossible as everybody shares a sector.

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