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Action 46 in Ireland flag Ireland

Member States to develop national broadband plans

Indicator Status Evidence
Do you have a National Broadband Plan which specifies a set of measurable broadband targets or will you have such a plan in place before 31st December 2012? Yes i) Basic broadband coverage. Commercial activity and the National Broadband Scheme (NBS) have provided basic broadband access at fixed locations across Ireland. The NBS, which was completed in October 2010, delivers broadband to target areas in which broadband services were previously deemed to be insufficient. A follow up Rural Broadband Scheme was subsequently launched to make broadband available to individual rural premises which are not capable of obtaining a broadband service from existing internet service providers due to local conditions. In all approximately 3,700 compliant applications, representing 0.2% of 1.7m occupied homes, have been received under the RBS public call for applications. If it is confirmed, following consultations with ISPs, that some RBS applicants cannot access a broadband service provider a service will have to be procured through a proportionate State intervention which will be competed before end 2013 if it is required. HOWEVER, AT THIS STAGE IT APPEARS THAT MOST OF THE RBS APPLICANTS ARE CAPABLE OF BEING SERVED BYA COMMERCIAL SERVICE PROVIDER AND THAT WILL BE THERE WILL BE VERY FEW (POSSIBLY NONE) PREMISES THAT ARE NOT REACHABLE BY A COMMERCIAL SERVICE PROVIDER. ii) NGA coverage Ireland will launch a “National Broadband Plan” in q3 2012 which will, among other things, establish a target to make a minimum headline speed of 30 Mbps universally accessible at fixed locations before end 2020. The plan proposes actions to make it easier for the commercial sector to invest in NGB rollout to maximise commercial investment and to address infrastructure deficits remaining in the form of a proportionate market intervention. The NBP foresees minimum headline speeds of 70 Mbps with up to 100 Mbps widely available in urban areas serving 50% (approximately) of the population, a minimum headline speed of 40 Mbps in less populated areas and a minimum headline speed of 30 Mbps available in more remote locations. The dominant cable operator is completing an investment to provide docsis 3 to homes passed, which constitute about 43.8% of all homes. The incumbent fixed line operator has announced plans to pass about 50% of premises with FTTx, in urban areas which as a general rule incorporate the footprint of the dominant cable operator. The independent market regulator in Ireland “ComReg” is currently engaged in programmes to decide on (I) “Next Generation Access: Proposed Remedies for Next Generation Access Markets” which may influence decisions by the dominant fixed line operator on the level and timing of other commercial investment in NGA and (II) “Multiband Spectrum Release” which is likely to determine the nature and providers of wireless broadband services for a substantial period. Pending the Regulator’s decisions on these matters and subsequent decisions by the undertakings affected, it is not possible to identify area by area where NGA will be provided on a commercial basis and consequently it is not possible to designate areas which may require a Government intervention nor the associated cost. HOWEVER, IT IS EXPECTED THAT AN APPROPRIATE PROCUREMENT PROCESS WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO BRING NGA TO AREAS THAT WILL NOT BE SERVED BY COMMERCIAL OPERATORS. THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS WILL BE PRECEEDED BY AN APPROPRIATE MAPPING EXERCISE WHICH WILL IDENTIFY THE AREAS THAT EITHER ARE OR WILL BE SERVED WITH NGA BY THE MARKET.
Does the Plan meet the European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe target for 100% broadband coverage by 2013? Yes Yes the NBS, referred to above, makes near universal access to broadband available in Ireland. The Rural Broadband Scheme, also referred to above, will make broadband services available to individual premises, if any, which cannot otherwise access one ISP due to local conditions.
Does the Plan meet the European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe target for 100% coverage over 30Mbps by 2020? Yes Yes, as explained in A ii) above the NBP proposes a minimum headline speed in remote locations of 30 Mbps with minimum speeds of 40 Mbps and 70Mbps available in more populated regions
Does the Plan meet the European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe target for 50% of households to have subscriptions over 100 Mbps by 2020? - As explained in A iii) above, it is foreseen that speeds of 100 Mbps or higher will pass 43.8% of homes. The national authority will continue to monitor demand side trends and any changes in supply side costs to determine whether a greater contribution to the demand side target by 2020 is possible. HOWEVER, IRELAND WOULD HIGHLIGHT THAT APPROXIMATELY 40% OF PREMISES ARE IN RURAL AREAS AND APPROXIMATELY 60% OF PREMISES ARE IN URBAN AREAS. IF IT IS THE CASE THAT 100Mbps CONNECTIVITY IS NOT AVAILABLE IN RURAL AREAS BY 2020, 5 OUT OF EVERY 6 PREMISES IN URBAN AERAS WOULD NEED TO SUBSCRIBE TO OVER 100Mbps IN ORDER TO MEET THIS TARGET. IT IS DIFFICULT TO BE OPTIMISTIC THAT SUCH A HIGH LEVEL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS WOULD MATERIALISE.
Have supportive measures been introduced to support the achievement of National Broadband Plan targets? Yes VARIOUS SUPPORTIVE MEASURES HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED BY GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE NGB TASKFROCE PROCESS AND THE PREPARATION OF THE NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN. THE NBP COMMITS THE GOVERNMENT TO PURSUING THOSE SUPPORTIVE MEASURES AND PREPARATIONS ARE WELL UNDERWAY IN THAT REGARD. THE NBP COMMITS PUBLIC FUNDING TO THE DELIVERY OF HIGHER SPEEDS THAN THOSE SET OUT IN THE DAE. THE NBP ALSO COMMITS THE GOVERNMENT TO MEETING THOSE TARGETS BEFORE THE DEADLINES SET OUT IN THE DAE. HOWEVER, As explained in A ii) above it is not yet possible to identify in sufficient detail the areas the market will or will not serve. It is not possible therefore to determine the level of public funding required in a manner compliant with the EU Commission’s applicable state aids guidelines which will be condition precedent to putting ant State funding into effect. As also explained above the independent market regulator is in the course of deciding issues relating to NGA access which must be awaited regarding access to infrastructure assets of the incumbent network provider. More generally in the NGBT report referred above the following are identified as barriers for which resolution are currently being pursued – · increased public acceptance of the required infrastructure; · consistency and an optimum level in the application of charges by Local Authorities; · more efficiency in the processing of planning applications within the planning consent process and · a key role for the State in accelerating the deployment of high speed services by making available, on a commercial basis, its considerable land, infrastructure and market assets.

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