The exchequer, SMEs and retailers are missing out on millions of euro in potential revenue because of stalled progress on the National Broadband Plan (NBP)

The exchequer, SMEs and retailers are missing out on millions of euro in potential revenue because of stalled progress on the National Broadband Plan (NBP), according to industry figures as the Government remains coy on when the contract will finally be awarded.

Despite Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten saying the tender process for the contract was in its “final stages” in a series of answers to parliamentary questions since October 2017, there is still no date earmarked.

When asked if a timeframe for the contract to be awarded had been decided, the department said it was still in the process.

To read the full article jump over to the Irish Examiner

More than 100 Garda stations around Ireland have no internet access

A large quantity of Garda stations in Ireland are in need of an internet connection, according to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, TD.

Ireland’s digital divide presents an array of negative consequences and it looks as if law enforcement is being hit hard by the lack of connectivity.

Many Garda stations offline

According to a report in The Times published today (16 July), out of 564 operational Garda stations, 111 are offline, with 34 due to be connected later in 2018. The lack of an internet connection means the digital PULSE (Police Using Leading Systems Effectively) information system cannot be used in these stations. The PULSE system collects and stores information about crime, firearms licensing, traffic management, driving licences, insurance and character vetting.

Check out the full article here

 

Ireland has 36th slowest broadband speed in the world

Ireland has the 36th slowest broadband speed in the world.

Annual global rates have just been published showing we are just behind the UK, and just ahead of Austria.

More than 160 million tests were carried out across 200 countries to reveal that Singapore is still the fastest country.

It is followed by Sweden, Denmark and Norway, while Yemen has the slowest broadband worldwide.

Tech expert Jess Kelly says Ireland features in the middle of the table, but there are big differences in speeds within the country.

“The average download speed is 18.22Mbps. If you ask someone in Dublin city or Cork city what their speed is, they will be up there getting almost the 200 which you pay more, which is sensational,” she said.

“The fact of the matter is, there are still large pockets of this country that do not have access to broadband, never mind your high-speed broadband.”

Credit Irish Examiner

Vision for a Digital Ireland is not a pipe dream

Unfortunately, Ireland is still a two-speed digital economy when it comes to broadband infrastructure and cloud efficiency, writes John Kennedy.

Several years ago, Siliconrepublic.com ran a monthly newspaper supplement called Digital Ireland in a national publication, and it ran for the best part of a decade.

A decade ago, as Ireland plunged into recession and people scrambled for ideas, our contribution was to encourage Ireland to play to its strengths. With the support of the leaders of the biggest tech multinationals, we campaigned for a Digital 21 Strategy, a vision of an Ireland with digital sinews that lifted all boats and prospects from connectivity to skills, education, innovation and policy.

The idea was to create something that would be budgeted and deployed, something along the lines of Transport 21.

Click over to Silconrepublic to read the full article.

Too Early to Cost Broadband Plan says McCourt

The head of the National Broadband Plan consortium has distanced himself from claims the scheme will cost €1.1bn to build.

Enet boss David McCourt was quoted in a UK magazine as saying that the €1.1bn would be divided into €100m up front each from his own Enet, SSE and UK infrastructure group John Laing, with a further €200m for design and construction and the rest in bank debt.

However, Mr McCourt says that the final sums have not yet been settled upon.

A spokeswoman for the Government said that the cost of the scheme has not yet been finalised.

“The full level of exchequer funding required for the National Broadband Plan will only be known after the procurement process has concluded,” she said.

Read the full article on Independent.ie

Rural broadband now an ’emergency’ issue, warn campaigners

Nationwide roll-out of high-speed network should be non-negotiable, says ICMSA

The government needs to hold an emergency Cabinet meeting to prove to the people of rural Ireland that it is serious about supplying broadband nationwide, Irish Rural Link CEO Seamus Boland has urged.

This comes following a report last week by the European Court of Auditors that predicted that it is “highly unlikely” that the €275m set aside by the Government to supply broadband to every home in Ireland will be enough.

At present, Enet is the only bidder left in the process that should result in 540,000 premises being connected to the National Broadband Plan, following Eir’s withdrawal from the tender in January.

Jump over to Independent.ie to read the full story

Ireland ‘unlikely’ to get 100% coverage of fast broadband by 2020

EU report blames public procurement issues for delays, with rural areas lagging behind

While Ireland has passed EU targets for universal access to basic broadband throughout the State, it will have difficulty reaching the same targets for fast broadband by 2020, and reaching even half that level of coverage for ultra-fast broadband, a report by the European Court of Auditors predicts.

Fast broadband coverage – between 30 and 100 megabits per second (mbps) – has risen sharply from 31 per cent to 89 per cent between 2011 and 2017, nine percentage points above the EU average and placing Ireland 10th in the EU league table.

But the report says that “based on past progress and present plans”, overcoming the last hurdle to get to 100 per cent coverage by 2020 is “unlikely”.

Check out the full article in The Irish Times

Imagine Secures €120M Investment

Imagine Secures €120M Investment in Irish High Speed Broadband Infrastructure from Brookfield.

Press Release May 10th, 2018

Imagine Communications Group Limited announced today that it has agreed €120 million of funding from funds managed by Brookfield, who will acquire a 50.1% indirect controlling interest in the Company in partnership with the Company’s founders. Imagine is an industry leader in the use of advanced fixed wireless infrastructure to deliver high-speed broadband services and an established operator in Ireland.

Brookfield is a leading global investor and operator of real assets with approximately $285 billion of assets under management.

With the early release of the 3.6Ghz 5G spectrum and this investment, the underserved regional and rural areas of Ireland will be the first market in Europe to benefit from Imagine’s rollout of its advanced 5G capable fixed wireless infrastructure. Designed and deployed for fixed services only, Imagine uses its 5G wireless spectrum and infrastructure to provide a secure, high-speed wireless connection between premises and base stations connected to the national fibre network. Imagine’s fixed wireless rollout provides a last mile solution to the challenges in providing high-speed broadband services to users, particularly in less densely populated areas where it has been commercially challenging to do so via fibre to the home (“FTTH”).

As more and more people connect to a media-rich web with more devices and average household usage expected to exceed 150GB per month by 2020, homes and businesses need reliable, superfast, high-capacity internet connectivity. While this is driving network investment in fibre backhaul infrastructure to exchanges, cabinets and masts, the challenge remains the last mile connection to the end user. The very high cost of FTTH, significant time to deploy and dependency on access to existing incumbent infrastructure, has and continues to be a barrier and prohibitive factor in delivering services to end users. particularly in less populated Regional and Rural areas.

The evolution to LTE Advanced and 5G and the significant increase in capacity has unlocked the potential of a new 5G Fixed Wireless model as a future proofed alternative ‘last mile’ solution to connect premises to fiber. While 4G has enabled high-speed mobile broadband, the requirement to simultaneously connect thousands of mobile devices significantly reduces the effective coverage and capacity available to individual users making it unsuitable as an alternative to fixed broadband.

However, deployed exclusively to provide fixed services (no mobile services), using only intelligent external antennae professionally installed at the customer premises, the capacity of the base station is optimised to provide a secure and dedicated high-speed connection to fibre at the bases station to a predefined maximum number of users over a comparatively wide area.

The challenge facing regional and rural Ireland is not unique and delivering high-speed broadband in less densely populated areas is a global issue. With LTE Advanced already supporting up to 300Mbps services, successful trials of 1GB services and a clear defined industry roadmap to 10Gbps as more 5G spectrum becomes available, fixed wireless is becoming the preferred alternative to previously planned FTTH deployments to deliver future proofed ultrafast broadband services.

“With the network already live and delivering high speed broadband services to 20k existing customers in rural areas, fully funded we will now commence the full commercial rollout of the network and the availability of next generation high-speed broadband services of 150Mbps to over 300 areas and 1.4 million premises within 2 years, with further investment in additional sites to meet customer demand”. said Sean Bolger, Founder and Executive Chairman of Imagine. “This represents a significant commercial investment in essential infrastructure in Ireland to finally deliver the long-awaited benefit of high-speed broadband service, particularly to users and communities in the underserved rural and regional areas”. Details of the full commercial rollout and availability of the services will be officially announced in the coming months

“For Imagine it was important to have an investor and partner who understood the significance and scale of the opportunity. As a leading global investor and operator of real assets and with its understanding of essential infrastructure, experience in scaling businesses and global reach, Brookfield is the right partner.”

The transaction is subject to certain conditions including competition and regulatory approval and is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2018.

ENDS

For Media Enquiries contact:
press@imaginegroup.ie
or
Dan Pender | dan@pr360.ie | 01 637 1777 | 087 231 3415
Amanda Glancy | amanda@pr360.ie | 01 637 1777 | 087 227 3108


About Imagine Communications

Headquartered in Sandyford in Dublin, since 1993 Imagine Communications Group and its associated businesses has been an innovator and strategic investor in the Irish and European fixed, wireless and mobile telecoms markets. Imagine is an industry recognised innovator in the use of TD LTE advanced fixed wireless technologies WTTx as an alternative to FTTx. Through its international network the Group provides wholesale services to telecom operators and services providers.

Note to editors:
In Australia the governments subsidised National Broadband Company NBB Co is already deploying Fixed Wireless as an alternative to previously planned FTTH deployments and currently conducting trials for 1Gbps services. In Asia fixed and mobile operator Softbank (Japan) provide a 261Mb high speed broadband service using LTE Advanced as an alternative to FTTH in Tokyo while in the US, AT&T, T Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, awaiting the release of 5G spectrum ,have already announced 5G Fixed Wireless deployments,

Imagine’s advisors on the transaction were Oakley Advisory Ltd (UK), AIB Corporate Finance (IRL) and Drake Star Partners (UK).

National Broadband Plan Hits Another Speed Bump

Conal Henry’s departure from Enet raises more questions than answers at this critical juncture.

Conal Henry’s departure from Enet raises more questions than answers at this critical juncture. And the people need answers, writes John Kennedy.

The decision of Conal Henry to step down from Enet during what seemed to be the pinnacle of his success only serves to raise more questions than answers about the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

I heard about Henry’s departure from the helm of Enet as I was traveling back from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in a race against the weather and to avoid being stranded away from home for a week.

As the plane descended on Dublin amidst a blizzard, my own mind was a-blizzard about what this could potentially mean.

It is yet another strange twist in the yet-to-begin NBP, which has up until this point sown more confusion than actually given people what they really want: connectivity.

A plan such as the NBP ought to be clear-cut and decisive. Instead, it has become a tangled web of intrigue, promises and frustration.

The departure of Eir from the NBP in recent weeks – just months after the Vodafone-ESB joint venture Siro left – from the process was not encouraging.

Either way, Communications Minister Denis Naughten, TD, was bullish at the time that the NBP would go ahead and that Enet-SSE, as the last consortium standing, would be awarded its contract in September 2018, with shovels due to hit the turf days later.

It signified a key moment of success for Henry after 12 years of stewarding the company, in terms of winning the contract to manage the 94 metropolitan area networks, and growing it from nothing into a network that includes dark fibre backhaul infrastructure transiting the rail and gas network, and three proprietary metro networks, including a 100km fibre ring in Dublin. Enet also operates one of the largest licensed wireless networks in the country.

Last week, however, Enet announced Henry’s departure.

Henry said: “After 12 years working with the wonderful team at Enet, the time has come for me to hand over the reins. I am so exceptionally proud to have been associated with this great company.”

David C McCourt, Enet’s chair, said: “Conal’s departure does not impact on Enet’s participation in the National Broadband Plan procurement process. Peter Hendrick, who is continuing as managing director for all growth initiatives for Enet, will also continue to lead the Enet team and as bid director of the Enet-SSE consortium.”

Another twist in the road to full connectivity?

After so many twists and turns in the road to 100pc broadband in Ireland – remember, shovels are not yet in the ground – you could be forgiven for suspecting that there’s more to this than meets the eye.

To read more click to view the full article on Silicon Republic

Credit SiliconRepublic.com

 

Moleskine’s latest smart pen saves your writing to download later

So long as you don’t mind paying $180 for a writing implement.

Moleskine has valiantly tried to bridge the divide between analog writing and digital files for years. The company released its Smart Writing Set in 2016 as a $200 holistic solution of pen, proprietary smart paper and app that instantly sent whatever you wrote or drew over to your paired device — which worked as long as your smartphone or tablet was nearby. But its newest writing implement, the $180 Pen+ Ellipse, liberates you from the latter need, saving all your scratchings in an offline mode until it connects to your device again.

This could actually be handy for writing in busy situations — trains, outdoors, in low-light — where pulling out your device to sync up is cumbersome. Unlike the pen that comes with the Smart Writing Set, the Pen+ Ellipse also has a little clip on the cap to slide on to your favorite notebook — though, of course, you’ll be using a $30 one from Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set line, since those are the only ones with the aforementioned Ncode smart paper. If you want to make it to the digital note-taking future, you’ll have to pay to get there.

Jump over to Engadget to learn more
Credit: Engadget