Minister Eamon Ryan’s Broadband Promises

In summary, the ten Government commitments are:

1. Government will target capital investment of €435m to address the digital divide
2. Universal broadband coverage in Ireland by late 2009 / early 2010
3. 100 Mbits per second broadband connectivity to be introduced to secondary schools on a phased basis
4. Future investment will be determined in accordance with value for money review of the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs)
5. Ensure Ireland’s continued high level of international connectivity
6. Major public infrastructure projects will have to install ducting at the construction phase. Government will establish a one stop shop to provide service providers with flexible and open access to existing and future ducting infrastructure
7. New premises will be required to install open access fibre connections where practicable
8. Maintenance of the regulatory framework necessary for fair and transparent competition across a range of platforms. Allocation of spectrum to encourage trialling and development of flexible new mobile technologies
9. Use of Government purchasing power in order to stimulate demand, create economies of scale and better public services
10. Establishment of a specialised research programme to monitor developments

1. Let’s see how much is really spent, sounds to be like fantastic number playing going on here. Is this their annual telecoms spend being used?
2. Universal Satellite Coverage is what they mean. Half the schools in this country are on satellite. Proper wired or wireless broadband is not going to be ubiquitous in 5 years let alone this ambition. And even then it won’t be the broadband the rest of the OECD has. It’s mobile dialup people have these days and the Government call it mobile broadband.
3. A few schools are already connected to the Metropolitan Area Networks. Fantastic. BUT half the schools in the country are on satellite (as above), how are they going to even get close to a MAN to get those connections. D4 and private schools can rejoice. Rural schools… tough. Show me the plan on how this will be done.
4. A waste of time looking into this. The Govt are not going to slam their own investments.
5. That’s paying the fucking bills Minister That’s like saying we’ll continue to have the lights turned on because we put 50p in the meter.
6. Brilliant. Brilliant. Well done. When does this start?
7. Again brilliant.
8. The regulator is a mess, it needs to be replaced with a regime that gives a damn about consumers and business and not keeping the large telcos happy. Oh and not take every issue as being a personal attack. Bring in ofcom.
9. Brilliant. Well done. Go team Eamo.
10. You mean a PR FUD team? Have we not enough?

24 Responses to “Minister Eamon Ryan’s Broadband Promises”

  1. […] Universal broadband access by 2010? Possibly, but check Mulley’s picking apart of the plan here. […]

  2. Adrian says:

    Interesting to see the breakdown of the money… (ie whether this is a ‘new’ €435 million)

  3. john says:

    Has the Shannon been drained yet?

  4. barry says:

    Good analysis Damien, I’d say there is no new money, especially with Lenihan ‘cutting back’ – but is it money that is needed? The suggestions in Ryan’s statement that govt purchasing, etc should be used is money equivalent, IF, it is implemented. So are ducting and open access fibre ‘commitments’…..

    The real question, what actually IS the commitment?

    OTOH, is this an indication that there is some new thinking going on in Ryan’s lair, or maybe they are just copying suggestions from yourself and others?

    Bye, Barry

  5. Unmitigated waffle out of Ryan. The statement was so meaningless, I thought I was listening to Haughey.

  6. Anon says:

    He really means that south county dublin and selected even numbered post codes will get it and the rest of us can go and shite. Giving schools 100MB/s is one thing, how about building a few schools to start.

  7. 73man says:

    Does number 5 mean that there’ll be more ferries leaving from the east coast?

  8. Smoke says:

    This is 5 years too late and as such it’s pure bollocks. In late 2009 Ryan won’t be around to explain how these ‘commitments’ (and commitments they are…per his interview on the Last Word this afternoon) haven’t been met. How the hell are they going to implement any of this when there’s going to be effectively a hiring freeze (and new spending freeze) in the DCENR and indeed in the public service as a whole? Are Comreg going to suddenly grow a pair? Who is going to tell the NRA to change their plans to include ducting on any existing or new road projects that will be delivered in the National Development Plan…which as we speak is being scrutinised carefully for areas where costs can be pruned. It’s been said before, we all thought Dempsey was a disaster as a minister but this eedgit Ryan really takes the biscuit.

  9. John says:

    “Unmitigated waffle out of Ryan” , true, but, prepared for him by the “permanent government”, the unaccountable and incompetent civil service, in this case the communications division of the department.
    The policy would have been presented to the Minister by the GIC (Gobshite in Charge) otherwise known as Assistant Secretary of the Department (if you want to see who he is, his picture is on the Department website).
    They say “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”, well, we pay this GIC approx €100,000 a year to produce this tripe.

  10. Pandabat says:

    As someone who has a house in an urban are (Cork) where neither UPC nor Eircom provide a fixed-line link, and where hills/trees block LOS to wireless providers, I find myself still covered by “mobile broadband”. As I work in the telco industry, I am very much aware of the instability, poor performance and varying coverage that this solution provides and am loathe to take it up. I see nothing here that will change this scenario (e.g. Eircom must upgrade ALL exchanges to broadband standard). The Cork MAN passes around 1km (possibly less but the maps are a little indistinct) and yet nothing of note in terms of proper, high-speed (not iffy 3G or much-maligned IBB/Clearwire) is available. One despairs for the future.

  11. Rockhop says:

    Enet who manage the MANs for the state have made it way too expensive for companies to connect to the fibre ring, they wanted to charge over €10k to connect us to the MAN here in Galway even though it passes outside our door. With greedy companies like this being handed control of our resources how can we develop a proper benficial infrastructure.
    Will they do what the Australians have done and lower the bandwidth bar so low bandwidth connections become ‘broadband’.
    By the way, my experiences of the Dept of communications over the years have shown to me that it is capable of winning the award for least useful government Dept, and that is saying something considering the competition it has…..

  12. stretchneil says:

    Nice link from rte for ya on this one – you’ll be at 2 million in no time 😉

  13. GP says:

    What rubbish. I’m living in ‘Rural Ireland’ where good ‘ole monopoly men Eircom won’t upgrade a cable length of 1 mile to enable broadband for ‘non village dwellers’ – and no digging is required and the cable is over ground via poles. Given that via mobile broadband I can get a maximum 100KB connection do I belive a word out of these guys about broadband? Not on your life. And then Perlico and BT send me flyers saying sign up for broadband – what lads, on your network is it? Oh no, on Eircom’s network sorry, here’s one that Comreg has already bottled!! To say this topic really grinds my gears would be an understatement.

  14. Trinity says:

    I see yer mug on RTE! 🙂

  15. barry says:

    I was going to (mildly) protest that what ever it might mean in practise it is something, better than nothing, but then I read this –

    just one of the many ridiculous Ryan quotes –

    “It’s better to build something from the design stage than to retrofit and that applies to communications as much as it applies to energy. They go together. With a fibre connected house it may be easy to get smart heating, which starts to use devices in a house in a much more interactive, flexible way.”

    That is grade one waffle….is he proposing we design a new tlecomms infrastructure….


  16. Damien says:

    The sooner you get your lobby group going the sooner I can play a new record and move on to something new. C’mon Barry.

  17. Evert says:

    Ennis Information Age town anyone?

  18. Azi Raphale says:

    This proposal is pretty much c&p’d from Simon Coveney’s June(?) policy paper. Piracy is theft, eh? 😉

  19. barry says:

    The ‘lobby group’ Damien is referring to is Ireland Offline, a former activity close to Damien. I did try to get things going again, but since I wasn’t involved in the mechanics of IoffL in its previous incarnation I couldn’t re-activate the various websites etc. There is a group trying to get it up an running, afaik, but there hasn’t been much progress, that I’ve seen. Complacency anyone??

  20. Declan says:

    I’d bet the first and probably only item on that list which will be completed successfully will be number 10. In fact I’d be surprised if Eamo hasnt already handed out the spots on that fact finding committee. Until the government stops counting mobile broadband and admits how slowly things are actually progressing then all we can expect from this minister, the next one and several more after that is more press releases.

  21. Audi says:

    We’re trying to put some facts, stats and data together on the Machine Nation forum on this topic among other infrastructural subjects. Can anyone recommend some links on this site or others which would show a good clear picture of what broadband infrastructure there is here now and some charts and stuff as to how it compares to the set ups of other countries – maps, charts, tables etc. etc.

    Also is there a program which we can run that will show us the speed of our connections and the infrastructure which the signals go through and so on? Like the traceroute program it might be possible to see which types of networks are out there – is it really true that so many schools use satellite for example?

    It seems to be true that fibre is ‘future proofing’ the network here but how much of it is out there and where do the MANs fit in and how much ftth should builders be obliged to install and so on. Recently the comreg pressured Eircom to lower rates they charge operators – is Eircom itself a problem or is this Eamon Ryan plan largely independent of them?

    Is there a singular vision out there of what broadband and comms should be in Ireland and how it should be achieved?

  22. You may be are too hard on the man Ryan.At least some semblance of vision and understanding seems to be emerging.

    I find the discussion above interesting, but there’s one point I haven’t seen mentioned.It is this: we already have ducting in most urban areas.

    Can anyone explain why we shouldn’t use the sewers to distribute fibre? It is already being done in the UK. I saw a clip on the BBC.

  23. Audi says:

    I certainly don’t think Ryan can be taken to account for whatever the state of Broadband here is, it’s rather the lack of regulator teeth in the absence of proper competition to drive down prices and facilities up or if it’s worth going back to the beginning when Eircom was turned into a cash cow for Babcock & Brown, ultimately.

    Can the MANs be a competitor for the Eircom network at all? Along with other media like wireless, maybe there is scope for an alternative infrastructure to appear which could compete with the Eircom wires. Making it obligatory for builders to put fibre to the home into new builds might be some way along the way, although maybe the Greens have done enough so far with obliging new houses to be built with higher energy standards.

    Eircom rang today offering me 2Mb broadband for €5 more per month. I told her that it was fast enough (good contention ratio down the country) and that it was my opinion that I should have at least 3Mb for the current price with a higher monthly cap too.

    Not to mention the O2 network causing Apple iPhone customers consternation yesterday when their overpriced 3G service crashed. Truly are the Irish the “blacks of Europe”.

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