It has been proven time and again that faster broadband and particularly fibre optic networks are the lifeblood of economies in the digital age in which we live. A recent study by the World Bank stated that for every 10% increase in penetrations of broadband services, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3%. This works out as a rise of 0.1- 1.4% in GDP growth. To be more specific, it means new companies and new jobs, more money floating around in our towns and villages, less people out of work, the end of the terrible tide of emigration and what can only be described as economic salvation.
So why is our government not busy introducing superfast broadband to New Ross now? Why are our local councillors not demanding that it be introduced immediately?
A study by the EU Commission last week shows that Ireland is well behind other EU states in the roll out of faster broadband. This obviously gives those states an economic advantage over us. The EU has set a target for all citizens across the union to have full access to superfast broadband by 2020. The way things are going we will not reach that target.
Sinn Féin has demanded that the government invest €2.5 billion into the development of next generation superfast broadband right across this state. We have argued that existing state enterprises such as Bord Gáis and the ESB could be used to develop a new superfast network, and in doing so, create thousands of jobs as this network is rolled out. If we are to recover and develop then our local politicians must learn the benefits of embracing the provision of faster broadband very quickly.