One million ‘left without broadband’.

One million ‘left without broadband until at least 2020 as Government set to announce further delay to plan’

The Department for Communications says the plan will be delivered ‘as quickly as possible’

The Government is expected to announce a delay to the National Broadband plan that will leave a million people without access until at least 2020.

The plan has apparently been hit with yet another blow after reports that the 2019 connection date deadline may not now be met.

The new rural broadband connections will now not be in place until 2020 at the earliest, according to reports.

A spokesman for Mr Bruton told the Irish Independent: “The target deployment schedule will be published following the conclusion of the ongoing procurement process.

“The National Broadband Plan is a key priority for Minister Bruton and this Government.” Ireland lags behind 25 other European countries for average broadband speeds, survey reveals. The Government responded to the report by revealing that a new expected delivery date for the plan will be announced “as quickly as possible”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications said the target schedule will be published following the conclusion of the ongoing procurement process, RTE reports.

They said that the Government’s priority is to bring that process to a conclusion as quickly as possible. The final tender was received on September 18 from the one remaining bidder and is currently being evaluated. It has been a turbulent few months for the Government’s plan after it was hit by the dramatic resignation of Minister for Communications Denis Naughten earlier this month.

The resignation came after the shock revelation from the Taoiseach that Mr Naughten had met David McCourt for dinner in his home four times.

Mr McCourt is the preferred bidder and the last man standing in the running for the award of the €500million National Broadband Project. Minister Naughten said he was left in an impossible position. He felt that his situation was more about “opinion polls rather than telephone poles” and said he had given his resignation to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Denis Naughten will support government on ‘a case by case basis’ after dramatic resignation. The plan was also shaken at the start of the year after the news that Eir would be pulling out of the tendering process.

Eir blamed the decision to leave the National Broadband Plan (NBP) on “the significant commercial issues and complexity within the tender process, together with growing uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues that reside outside of the NBP process”.

The company’s board “decided that the risks are too great for its continued participation in the NBP”.

For more details on this interesting story, click here (credit: Irish Mirror).

Call for National Broadband to be redeveloped for SMEs

Call for National Broadband to be redeveloped for SMEs

Most Irish consumers do not believe that their main street is equipped for the digital age.

The Irish Government must redevelop and reprioritise the National Broadband Plan (NBP) in favour of SMEs, the CEO of the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), David Curtin, has urged.

“Despite the near collapse of the current project, the Government must not lose sight of the fact that SME e-commerce is essential to not only balanced economic development across Ireland, but key to the future success of Ireland Inc in an increasingly competitive, globalised world,” Curtin said.

‘Both industry and Government must recognise Irish SMEs’ ongoing lack of e-commerce ability’
– DAVID CURTIN

“A short-term measure would be to fast-track the development of more regional ‘digital hubs’, like Gorey and Skibbereen, which act as magnets for local investment.”

The NBP was recently thrown into disarray with the resignation of former Communications Minister Denis Naughten, TD. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, has appointed an auditor, Peter Smyth, to determine if the plan, which has one final bidder, has been compromised or if it is fit for purpose to go ahead.

Ireland’s Internet Day
Curtin’s call on Ireland’s Internet Day (25 October) comes as research shows that the vast majority of Irish consumers believe that their local main street is not equipped for the digital age.

When asked why, 40pc said that their local shops are not online. 22pc said that booking appointments or reservations online is not a priority for their local community. In areas outside of Dublin, 19pc said their local town’s internet quality was too poor to facilitate e-commerce.

Crucially, 65pc said they would buy more from their local shops if those shops had some form of click-and-collect service that allowed them to order a product online and pick it up in store.

In total, 46pc of people can’t book appointments online for services in their local town. This figure drops to just a third (33pc) in Dublin, but rises to more than half (51pc) in areas outside the capital. Hairdressers are the most likely to offer online booking (29pc in total) while handymen and mechanics are the least likely (both 12pc).

The research coincides with the launch yesterday (24 October) by Enterprise Ireland of a €1.25m Online Retail Scheme targeted at retailers that want to develop an online presence.

Ireland’s Internet Day will be officially celebrated in Gorey, Co Wexford, today. Gorey was chosen as Ireland’s first ‘Digital Town’ in a new IEDR initiative aimed at promoting digital skills and knowledge in regional areas.

Over the last four weeks, the IEDR has worked with community organisations and businesses in Gorey to develop their digital skills and online presence, and showcase the digital achievements of the town.

The age of convenience
“Ireland is digital,” Curtin said. “We use multiple devices to access the internet, we are quick to try or adopt new technologies, and we use the internet in diverse ways, whether to purchase goods and services, learn about the world, connect with friends, share our creative pursuits or find love.

“The internet has also enabled an age of convenience. We can buy our weekly shop when we’re on the bus to work, apply for a loan in bed and book our holiday from the sofa. As consumers, we expect this kind of service and ease of use if we’re buying from our local shop or from an international retailer.”

Curtin said e-commerce is worth €12.3bn to the Irish economy but the IEDR’s recent SME Digital Health Index research shows that just three in 10 Irish SMEs can take sales orders online.

“This is despite the fact that Irish consumers are patriotic and want to support their local business more. Two in three consumers would happily buy from their local shops if they had some kind of e-commerce service, like click-and-collect. Until that service is offered, however, consumers will simply continue to spend money with more convenient, user-friendly international retailers.

“Both industry and Government must recognise Irish SMEs’ ongoing lack of e-commerce ability,” Curtin said.

For more details on this interesting story, click here (credit: siliconrepublic).

Irish companies behind on advancements in AI

Irish organisations need to catch up with Europe on advancements in AI

 

Irish organisations are falling behind their European counterparts in the advancement of AI. Research from Microsoft, conducted by EY, has revealed key stumbling blocks within Irish organisations which could threaten successful AI roll out and ultimately, digital success.

Overall the EY report found that 65% of all European organisations expect AI to have a high impact on their core business. However, Irish organisations are falling behind European neighbours in AI implementation and investment. On the flip side, AI in Ireland is ramping up with 75% saying they are in planning or piloting phase.

89% (80% in Ireland) of all respondents expect AI to generate business benefits by optimising their companies’ operations in the future. This is followed by 74% across Europe that expect AI to be the key to engaging customers.

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland said: “Advancements in AI are creating new opportunities for businesses in Ireland to accelerate innovation and make it more accessible to everyone. Despite the opportunities which AI can unlock, today’s research shows that organisations in Ireland must close the gap with their European peers in adopting AI to digitally transform and enhance their competitiveness”.

For more details on this interesting story, click here (credit: Irish Tech News).

Ireland’s first driver-less bus

‘This is the future’ – Ireland’s first driver-less bus is debuted

 

Ireland’s first driver-less bus made its debut on September 21st, ferrying passengers through Dublin city centre. The electric-powered shuttle bus which can carry up to 15 passengers at a time was showcased on a promenade alongside traffic in the busy IFSC area in the capital.

The smart bus brought to Ireland for European Mobility Week, is fully autonomous with sensors on all four sides detecting objects that come within a metre of it.

“Right now we’re being given a glimpse of the future and what mobility might look like in cities,” Jamie Cudden, Director of the Smart Dublin team at Dublin City Council said.

While the technology could legally not yet operate in shared spaces with motorists, it is thought the shuttle bus could eventually be used to carry passengers from airports and train stations to nearby destinations, as well as in rural parts of the country.

To see the new technology in action, check out the Irish Independent’s article here.

iOS 12: Screen Time

“Screen Time,” a new feature on iOS 12 that tells you how long you’ve been using certain apps on your iPhone or iPad at its simplest

 

We’re all spending too much time on our phones and now, Apple is doing something about it. In this case it’s “Screen Time,” a new feature on iOS 12 that tells you how long you’ve been using certain apps on your iPhone or iPad at its simplest, and which lets parents place numerous limits on app usage for kids at its most complex. (Or, if you feel like you’ve been spending too much time on, say, Twitter, you can place those limits on yourself.)

At the end of each week, you’ll get an automatic report detailing how often you or your child used the device, as well as the percentage of time spent on apps with specific categories, such as Social Networking, Games, Entertainment, and Productivity. Alternatively, you can get current information about these stats by visiting Screen Time at any time. With that information, you’ll have a better idea of where you need to place limits.

To get more information on how to use this feature of the new update, head over to Macworld.

Tech found in iPhone X could usher in ‘lightspeed’ broadband in cities

A team of European researchers has found a way to take technology from the latest iPhone and use it to generate unparalleled broadband speeds.

One of the major selling points of the iPhone X was its user recognition software, capable of scanning your face and creating an Animoji, or turning on music when its AirPod earbuds sense they’ve been placed in your ears.

Behind this technology is something called a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), a specialised laser diode that is cheap to manufacture and significantly more energy-efficient than traditional lasers.

Now, a team of EU-funded researchers has managed to find a way to use VCSELs to create ultra-high-speed broadband across large distances, potentially doing away with the data bottlenecks experienced in cities that are only set to increase as the years go on.

To catch to full story on Silicon Republic, click here

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.