Ireland’s Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) has opened a consultation on its ‘Digital Connectivity Strategy’, which is a sub-strategy of its recently-launched national digital strategy, ‘Harnessing Digital – The Digital Ireland Framework’.
According to the DECC, the Digital Connectivity Strategy is primarily focused on enabling the physical telecommunication infrastructure and services delivering digital connectivity. In terms of overall targets, the strategy envisages that: all Irish households and businesses will be covered by a gigabit-capable network no later than 2028; all populated areas will be covered by 5G by no later than 2030; and the delivery of digital connectivity to all ‘Connected Hubs’ and all schools will be achieved by 2023.
In terms of actions the authorities are reportedly planning to implement to achieve its goals, these include: the deployment of gigabit connectivity in primarily rural areas via the state-led National Broadband Plan (NBP); the introduction of a universal service obligation (USO) for broadband; and the ‘immediate’ deployment of high-speed connectivity towards key locations such as digital hubs, schools, Garda stations and other government facilities across the country.
As part of the consultation, the government has invited commercial operators to submit details of their existing or future planned networks delivering broadband services to premises with at least 1Gbps download. According to the DECC, details should include the list of premises that are or will be covered and the expected date by which gigabit connectivity will be made available to each premises. Meanwhile, in terms of some of the specific questions asked by the consultation, these include: whether the ambition level set out in the strategy is considered appropriate; and whether the strategic enablers the strategy sets out are appropriate, or whether they need to be amended.
Submissions to the consultation have been requested by a deadline of 31 March 2022.