The details published today on the third broadband report of the Joint Committee on Communications are disturbing, but not surprising. It is unsurprising given widespread government inertia on the issue. It is disturbing because Ireland is winning a race to the bottom of the European broadband league, and this has implications both for our competitiveness and our quality of life.
Ministers have continually paid lip-service to the need to install broadband in every house and business in the country but have failed to implement practical policies to actually deliver nationwide. Their smugness and blindness will come back to bite us in the future.
The Committee says that the Government’s record on broadband rollout is “unsustainable” and needs to be addressed as a matter of the “gravest urgency.” Such recognition is welcome.
However without action, it is pointless. We must address the three key issues with respect to broadband provision: Access, Availability, and Adoption. As the report notes, we urgently require policies which can bring us to the top of the broadband league, not the bottom.