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28/10/2021

Almost €30m to be invested in Carlow over 25 years as part of controversial broadband plan

The Government has given green light to National Broadband Plan at a cost of €3billion

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Every home, business and farm across Carlow can now look forward to high speed broadband no matter where they are located, Fine Gael TD Pat Deering has said.

This week the Government has given the green light to the National Broadband Plan at a cost of €3billion.

A consortium led by Granahan McCourt was announced as the preferred bidder after the project was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday.

Granahan McCourt was the only remaining bidder for the contract to deliver high-speed broadband to more than 540,000 homes and businesses.

The scheme will bring high-speed broadband to 1.1million people across the country.

The National Broadband Plan is the largest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification. It is just as important to the future as electricity was then.

By investing in broadband, the Government say they are ensuring that Carlow has the same opportunities as those living in urban areas, serviced by commercial operators.

That means, flexible and remote working, smart farming, digital learning and education, online health services and reliable electronic payments and bookings.

Deputy Deering said: "We do not want rural Ireland to be left behind so we are investing to end the digital divide and ensure people in rural communities get the same opportunities as those living in our towns and cities.

"€29 million is being invested in Carlow over the next 25 years to bring broadband to 28,000 homes, farms and businesses.

"This plan is about equal access to services and opportunities for everyone, no matter where they live and work.

"This is the largest investment by any Government in rural Ireland since electrification and marks a new departure for the country a decade after the economic crash occurred.

"Every home and business in Carlow no matter their location, will have access to high speed broadband making Ireland the first country worldwide where rural areas have the same opportunity as urban areas."

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, said: "This investment will have a transformative effect on rural Ireland, future-proofing communities for generations to come.

"Digital technology is revolutionising how we live, learn and work and we want to make sure rural Ireland is not left behind.

"This announcement ensures that the State makes a significant investment in broadband in the coming years. The State has invested just €400m in broadband from 2002-2016.

"In the period 2002-2021, €36.9 Billion will have been invested in roads and €10.8 in water infrastructure."

Private investors have committed to deliver high speed broadband to homes in built-up areas and to deliver for 77% of the population.

To ensure rural areas have the same opportunity as urban Ireland, the State will ensure that the other 23% of our population receive this vital service. 

Of the 540,000 premises nationwide within the intervention area, more than 80% of them are more than a kilometre from the nearest town or village.

It is clear from commercial activity to date and the commitments made into the future, there is no realistic prospect of these premises being served commercially. 

The Government’s procurement process has concluded, and it has been determined the maximum possible cost to the state will be €3bn (including VAT and a Contingency Fund) over 25 years.

No other public project will be delayed or postponed from this, the Government claims. 

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