WDC welcomes Government commitment to provision of Broadband to all rural areas under new Rural Broadband Scheme

 Universal broadband access vital for rural enterprises to compete in knowledge economy and create jobs – WDC

The WDC welcomes the government commitment to universal broadband provision and the announcement of the Rural Broadband Scheme which promises to provide a broadband service to those who have not yet been able to access it.

Deirdre Frost, Policy Analyst at the WDC says: “We welcome this Government announcement, which as well as ensuring that all will be able to access a broadband service, also confirms the commitment to universal broadband access. Without broadband access, companies are at a competitive disadvantage. This scheme recognises the importance of broadband for all parts of the country and its role in enabling rural enterprises to develop and create jobs. For businesses in remote areas, once they have broadband, they have direct access to international markets.”

The WDC says that it will be important to ensure that as broadband speeds and people’s expectations increase, “that minimum standards increase and that no area is disadvantaged by poor quality broadband. This is true for the individual user starting a business from home, as well as the SME sector and the larger multinationals.” Ms Frost added.

“High quality broadband is rightly recognised as a key element in the knowledge economy and in job creation. Export oriented businesses can and do thrive, regardless of location, as long as they have quality broadband which is competitively priced,” she said.

The WDC also welcomes the Government’s commitment to Next Generation Broadband and the intention to accelerate the development of high speed broadband. “This recognises the need to improve broadband speeds. The Next Generation Broadband Task Force should ensure that the needs of rural areas are addressed so that all areas have access to Next Generation Broadband as soon as possible,” concluded Ms Frost.

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For further information please contact:

Deirdre Frost, Western Development Commission, 086 605 3317