Poll: Should the rural broadband plan be scrapped in favour of privately operated wireless?

Some have suggested the State would be better off ditching the billion-euro project.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

LAST WEEK, THE CEO of wireless provider Imagine Communications announced a €300 million plan to bring high-speed broadband to as many as 400,000 rural homes and businesses.

If the project goes ahead as described by Sean Bolger, the geographic area outlined by Imagine could cover the vast majority of the 540,000 homes and businesses earmarked by the State’s National Broadband Plan.

For that reason, it has been suggested that the government might be better off scrapping the long-overdue project, which has been plagued by setbacks and is expected to cost as much as €1.5 billion because it relies on expensive fibre-optic cabling.

However, as Adrian Weckler suggested in the Sunday Independent, it might be unwise for the government to put all of its trust in a private wireless operator.

In a column for the newspaper, Weckler noted that Imagine’s plan only guarantees wireless coverage for an initial 130,000 homes. Households that fall outside this batch are expected to lobby the company to provide broadband in their area – and prove that it makes commercial sense for the company to do so.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Should the rural broadband plan be scrapped in favour of privately operated wireless?

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