Longwinded piece but the gist is: The National Dialup Tender will use Three Mobile Dongles, no fixed line, no fixed wireless connections. 1Mb download, 200k upload. Or a Satellite dish!
From question time with Eamo today:
Deputy Eamon Ryan:
As regards the timeframe for completion, the ITT requires that all houses and business premises must be provided with a broadband service within 22 months of the signing of the contract. 3’s response to the ITT meets that requirement. The finer details are being worked out at present and will be finalised at contract signing which is expected to take place on 11 December 2008. As regards the bandwidth and download speeds, 3 will extend its network to provide mobile broadband services into the NBS area.
In recognition of the fact that some areas will be very difficult to reach using standard infrastructure, 3 will make available a satellite product. The specific details are being discussed with 3 at present and will be finalised at contract signing. In order to protect the integrity of the procurement process, I do not propose to release details of the value of the NBS contract at this time.
Liz McManus asked this of Eamo then:
Does the Minister accept that, in fact, there are people who are not in the broadband scheme and are unable to access it even though their area might be described as having such access within the indicative map? We are going to end up with the anomalous position where people cannot access, for example, the 3 service, but because they are described as having access, they will not be able to avail of opportunities under the broadband scheme. Could he, perhaps, give us details of the technology platform, the guarantees in terms of speed, the penalties if the target of 1 megabyte is not met, as well as the coverage targets? Cost seems to me to be the only reason 3 got the contract, but how do I know, since I am not getting the information. The Minister is not willing to give us the cost, but he should at least give us the information about safeguards.
And here Eamon admits that the scheme is just a whole load of mobile dongles:
Deputy Eamon Ryan:
I am reluctant to give this information until the contracts are signed, which will be within the week.
The service that will be provided will meet with widespread public support. There have been concerns with regard to the start of the roll-out of certain mobile broadband services over the past year. We should recognise those services have just started and there are naturally teething difficulties. That said, we now have approximately 250,000 people who have signed up for such mobile broadband services. We must also recognise that because 40% of our houses are one-off houses in the countryside, we will always be a country where mobile broadband services are in higher demand than in other countries. We may develop a benefit from this, particularly where we can get new evolving mobile, wireless and other connections onto fibre quickly and provide good high quality services.
Simon Coveney needled him then on the mobile:
Deputy Simon Coveney: However, the Minister seems to suggest that part of the solution will be provided via a mobile product, but one can get a mobile broadband service in a number of these grey areas already, whether on top of a mountain or wherever. The issue with regard to broadband connectivity is not about mobile services. Is the Minister suggesting that 3G or 3 will put up mobile masts in these areas to provide for broadband via a mobile phone?
That may be a useful service for people who want to access the Internet on their mobile phones, but it is not a consistent enough solution for people opening businesses in parts of rural Ireland that cannot get broadband currently.
This resulted in:
Deputy Eamon Ryan: I used the term “mobile” in the way it is commonly used, as in “not fixed” line.
Deputy Simon Coveney: We want clarity.
(Very Tom Cruise in a Few Good Men!)
Deputy Eamon Ryan: This means it is connected to one’s computer or to whatever hand-held device one wants.
Deputy Simon Coveney: It is not mobile then.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am not restricting people in terms of how they access the Internet. However, we need broadband access. In this case, we will have speeds of over 1 megabit download and over 200 kilobits on the upload. There is also provision for those speeds in the services to be improved in the five-year period the contract will cover.