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Broadband plan needs to be more than just hot air

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 5th September, 2012 1:30pm

The Government's announcement of a €400m investment in high speed internet around the country is welcome.

It is obviously the case that there is a massive need for broadband in many parts of the country.

And it is also indisputable that the lack of such infrastructure will hold back the country's economic and technological development.

What is not quite so certain is whether the Government's latest plans amount to anything more than yet another empty promise to solve the now perennial problem of rural broadband.

Politicians are never slow to make promises; however, when it comes to rural broadband, successive Governments have fallen over each other to offer glimpses of glorious high-speed broadband futures.

The new scheme by the Government represents a tacit admission that previous plans were either not sufficiently ambitious or did not produce the necessary outcomes.

And never mind rural broadband! There are many urban areas where broadband speeds remain sluggishly slow.

If Pat Rabbitte is correct that high speed rural broadband is the rural electrification of today - then we are still fearful of being left in the dark, holding a candle.