€500 million plan for rural Eire rollout

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The Irish government has revealed a €500 million plan to bring high-speed broadband to around a million rural homes and businesses across the country.

Eire's minister for communications Pat Rabbitte announced that the fibre scheme would bring high-speed connectivity to premises in more than 1,000 towns and villages, and would involved the country's Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Vodafone, using an existing network of pylons.

Critics of the government say the announcement is worryingly light on detail, with the minister not willing to provide an exact time scale for the project but suggesting that it would take at least three years to complete.

Rabbitte was also reported as saying that he was 'not hung up' on the speeds that might be achieved by the new system, but insisted that it would be 'future-proofed'.

He said: 'Urban Ireland has a good a level of connectivity as anywhere in Europe but there are many parts of rural Ireland where there is only a basic service and that is not acceptable. People in rural areas are as entitled to broadband as anyone else.'

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