Published: Wed, 16 September 2015
MEP for Ireland-South, Seán Kelly, has urged the European Commission to put forward policy proposals that will ensure added investment into the development of networks that will bring high speed and high quality internet to all EU citizens.
This week, a consultation was launched by the Commission with the aim of assessing the need for internet speed and quality beyond 2020. Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels today, Mr Kelly welcomed the consultation but added that the importance of quality broadband access for the economic recovery of EU Member States was clear.
“High speed internet has become a necessity – it is now a vital ingredient for new businesses to get off the ground. Ensuring widespread fast internet access, including to rural areas in particular, will bring enormous benefits to Irish entrepreneurs and small businesses as it increases their potential to grow, compete, and ultimately create jobs at home.”
Broadband roll-out has made significant progress in Europe in the past few years. By the end of 2014, Next Generation Access (NGA) fixed-line technologies capable of providing at least 30 Mbps (megabits per second) were available to 68% of EU households. MEP Kelly, a lead negotiator on Data Protection in the European Parliament, noted that there needs to be a continuous improvement in connectivity to meet the demands of an increasingly digitalised economy.
“Ireland’s top priority is to secure the recovery. To do this, we need to ensure that Irish businesses, and particularly SMEs, have the necessary tools to compete in an increasingly globalised and digital market. This means ensuring that services are available to meet the growing demand for increased bandwidth and ensuring investment into the infrastructure that enables a fast and reliable broadband supply.
“I welcome the great work being done by this Government which has brought the number of homes with high speed broadband to over a million, more than three times the 2010 figure. To compliment this initiative, I urge the European Commission to put forward proposals to create a regulatory environment that will encourage investors to deploy high-quality connectivity networks to enable all EU citizens to avail of the digital economy.
“Making a fast, resilient, reliable and uninterrupted connection available to all EU citizens is a goal we should strive for”, he concluded.