The Government is to invest €314 million to deliver high-speed broadband to Cork City and County, it has been revealed.
The National Broadband Plan, set to cost €3bn, will be the biggest investment in the Republic of Ireland since rural electrification.
The Cabinet approved the proposal to sign the National Broadband Plan contract on Tuesday and the rollout of high-speed broadband to more than half a million homes throughout the country will begin in January.
“This is a landmark day for Cork City and County and for rural Ireland generally,” said Fine Gael General Election Candidate for Cork North Central, Senator Colm Burke.
“The Government has signed a contract for the National Broadband Plan, which will see investment of €314 million to bring high-speed broadband to 78,695 homes across Cork City and County.”
The National Broadband Plan is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises nationally, including 100,000 businesses and farms, and over 600 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.
“Over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within four years,” added Senator Burke.
“Quite simply this means rural communities in Cork City and County will not be left behind.
“All of rural Ireland will get the same access to opportunities offered by high-speed broadband as those in urban areas,” he said.
Senator Burke also accused opposition parties such as Fianna Fail of providing no solutions for Ireland, only obstacles.
Under the National Broadband Plan, it could take up to seven years before every home and business gets high-speed broadband.
The European Commission has been investigating whether the Government spend on the plan breached European Union state aid rules, which restrict national investment in services offered by private ventures.
The project has faced controversy, delays and setbacks which seen a number of firms pulling out of the bidding for the contract.
Opposition parties have also called for the broadband network to publicly owned, as the state is investing such a significant amount in the project.