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Government announces scheme to deliver broadband across Ireland


€220 million investment in rural broadband infrastructure
170 jobs to be directly created
Universal coverage by September 2010

Communications Minister Eamon Ryan today announced the National Broadband Scheme, the Government scheme to deliver broadband services throughout the country. Following the conclusion of a competitive tendering process, the Minister has entered into a contract for the delivery of this scheme with ‘3’ (a Hutchinson Whampoa company).

Ireland currently has over 1.2 million subscribers to broadband. The National Broadband Scheme will provide the remaining 10% of our population, or approximately 33% of the area of the country, with broadband services (see attached map). Ireland will have 100% coverage by September 2010; half of the area under the scheme will be covered by the end of this year.

Investment of €223 million from a combination of Exchequer funds, EU co-financing and ‘3’ will create 170 direct jobs. Hundreds more will be protected and created as the availability of broadband increases the investment and enterprise in the targeted areas.

‘3’ will extend its network to provide mobile wireless broadband services into the NBS area. Initially, the service will have a minimum download speed of 1.2 mbps. At least, two upgrades of speeds are planned during the lifetime of the contract. These product upgrades will be carried out at no cost to the customer.

Announcing the scheme, Minister Ryan said, “For too long, rural Ireland has been without this essential service.

Today’s announcement is a boost for the rural economy. Now businesses throughout the country can have ready access to the national and international markets. Employment will be created and sustained. Quality of life will improve for rural residents and communities will be strengthened.

This contract represents real value for public money. I congratulate ‘3’ on winning this contract and look forward to them meeting the challenging, but achievable coverage targets.”

Robert Finnegan Chief Executive of 3 commented: “3 is delighted to have won the NBS tender - it’s great news for 3 and for rural Ireland. We’ll be rolling out our first class broadband network bringing internet services to thousands of homes and businesses across the country. Over five years we’ll be investing 223 million euros and creating around 170 new jobs giving Ireland’s economy a welcome boost. There has never been a more important time for people to get connected as Ireland strives to sharpen its competitiveness. 3 has already played an important part in bringing Ireland up to speed in the broadband league tables and we look forward to further strengthening 3’s market leading position with the most innovative and services and best value price plans available.”

Notes for Editors:

Any fixed residential or business customer located within the NBS coverage area can apply for broadband services from 3 Ireland. There are approximately 223,000 buildings located within the NBS coverage area, covering 1028 electoral divisions.

The product provided by 3 Ireland will cost €19.99 per month with a connection fee of €49 which includes the cost of the necessary equipment.

Wireless mobile broadband services will be provided in the NBS area with approximately 8% of areas receiving a satellite service.

An uncharged monthly data cap of 15GB (12GB download and 3GB upload) will apply for the wireless product while 11GB (10GB download and 1GB upload) will be available for satellite users.

Subscribers can expect the following speeds at launch

Wireless Mobile Min (at cell edge) Max (at cell centre)
Download Speed 1.2Mbps 5Mbps
Upload Speed 200kbps 1.8Mbps

Satellite Min Max
Download Speed 1Mbps 1Mbps
Upload Speed 128kbps 128kbps

Two upgrades of the wireless product are planned by 3 in the coming years without any increase in the monthly recurring charge:

July 2010 Min (at cell edge) Max (at cell edge)
Download Speed expected 1.6Mbps 6.8Mbps
Upload Speed expected 1.2Mbps 4Mbps

October 2012 Min (at cell edge) Max (at cell edge)
Download Speed expected 2.3Mbps 10.4Mbps
Upload Speed expected 1.4Mbps 4.8Mbps

The schedule for roll-out is 21 months and the first services will be deployed in spring 2009.

Detailed maps, including individual county maps are available the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources website . Further detail, including an online checking facility, is available at

About 3
3 is a mobile operator focused on bringing the benefits of the internet to mobile communications. We offer attractive pricing and give our customers the widest choice of ways to stay connected at home or abroad. To do this we’re building the UK’s best high-speed mobile broadband network. 3 UK is a member of the HWL group of 3G companies, which include 3G operations in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy Macau and Sweden.

Three facts about 3:
- 3 launched the UK’s first 3G network offering national coverage for calls and texts, and has over 90% population coverage for 3G services. As we consolidate our radio access network with T-Mobile we expect to reach almost complete UK population coverage for 3G by the end of 2009.
- 3 has over 3 million active customers in the UK and over 16 million worldwide.
- 3 was the first to enable free voice over internet calling with Skype and the first to launch a dedicated Skype mobile phone, the 3 Skypephone.


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