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    Our Fluid Rock Blog. Where we keep an eye on the latest technologies & trends that are flying about.

We don't just need Fibre in our diet

An excellent talk at the Science Gallery last night, given by Susan Crawford, and interviewed by Karlin Lillington opened my mind to the fact that we're definitely following the mistakes of the US when it comes to Internet Access.

Susan delivered a thought provoking speech on Fibre access to the Internet, why we need to be getting a Gig into our homes and businesses, and how this is crucial to creating jobs and improving life for people.  What was striking to me was that in addition to the countries that we know have fibre, the likes of China & South Korea, our near neighbours like Romania and Portugal can now promise this to business and citizens. 

In the US, the cable companies have lobbied and sown up the market to milk the cable already in place, in fact we were told that there were laws in most states to ensure municipalities could not bring in fibre.  One City to buck the trend was Chattanooga, Tennessee, and it is seeing major growth in business as a result. 

Here in the Digital Hub we've sat on Fibre for the past 10 years, a promise of high speed Internet to the business and residential community of the city still not realised.  This morning we hear that the Fibre laid along the railways of Ireland is up for sale, is this another ill informed sale (think Eircom) of a utility that the country needs to compete effectively in the world.  We're looking at an even larger digital divide that will undermine our competitiveness further. 

According to Susan, to get the fibre set up as a utility similar to how Electricity is treated, we need

  • A strong political will to make this National Policy
  • We need long term view from a financing perspective, utility bonds in the US come to mind, 40 year bonds.
  • An immediate strategy to provide equal access at a fair cost to all citizens
  • To inform our citizens as to why, think Telehealth, distance learning etc.

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