A €223m government broadband scheme will see Ireland plug its broadband not-spots to provide access to all of the country. Partly funded by the EU, the tender was awarded to Three who announced that it will allow the creation of 170 direct jobs. At the moment around 10% of the population, or approximately 33% of the area of the country is without broadband services.
Three will deploy the service using HSPA (high-speed packet access) mobile technology which will provide a minimum download speed of 1.2 meg and a maximum of 5 meg. There are plans to increase the speeds available through the life time of the contract with improvements in July 2010 to see a minimum of 1.6 meg download and maximum 6.8 meg, increasing to 2.3 meg minimum and 10.4 meg maximum in October 2012. A 12GB download usage limit will apply. Services will be charged at €19.99 per month.
Not all of the country will be reachable by mobile broadband, so limited use of satellite technology will also be used for around 8% of the country. More details are available from the National Broadband Scheme section of the three.ie website.