What Eric Schmidt Thinks Ireland Needs (Hint: broadband)

Thanks to Bernie Goldbach for reporting this. Obviously we don’t need the CEO of Google to point such things out, but it’s nice to see an important figure from the web lend his weight to the argument for a better broadband infrastructure. Living in Longford and Leitrim over the past four years I am all too painfully aware of the extremely poor communications infrastructure in Ireland.

ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO OF GOOGLE, visited Killarney last week, and suggested Ireland invest more in communications infrastructure. Schmidt believes broadband capability is a precondition for economic growth in the next 10 years. But not the kind of over-the-air sprinkling that the Irish government currently endorses.

“The right thing to do is to light up Ireland with fibre, and to do that systematically over a 10-year period.”

via Inside View: What Eric Schmidt Thinks Ireland Needs.

The government talks about decentralising but if it really wants to do that it needs to sort out a proper broadband infrastructure. Of course it goes beyond decentralisation – it’s a pure economic fact now – Ireland needs hyper-connectivity at hyper-speed to stay competitive, attractive to investors and businesses considering locating here, and, well, so many things.

The National Broadband Scheme is a complete joke. I’m personally in a situation where I am strongly considering taking my ass out of the back of beyond and to somewhere where I might get reasonable and reliable connectivity. It’s a horrible thought that it might come to that, and doesn’t exactly help small rural communities develop at all.

I’ve fought with shit internet connections ever since I moved out of Dublin, going from dial-up, to capped broadband, to unbelievably shit wireless, to semi-decent wireless which turned shit (they assure us it will get better next week). All of this time I’ve struggled to beat my 1mbps connection which I first experienced in Toronto in 2001. That’s 8 years ago. What’s the story?!

The below image shows ping times on our connection – the slower the ping, the slower the connection. How shit is that.

Smoke Ping results - Last 10 days

Smoke Ping results - Last 10 days

The next image shows our inexorable decline in decent connection since May of this year. Nice to have paid €90 per month for such a wonderful service – oh and don’t even say 3G to me, I wouldn’t go near that if you paid me.

Smoke Ping results - Past 12 months

Smoke Ping results - Past 12 months

I’m just getting annoyed now. I’m going to stop thinking about this and get back to work. Just needed a little rant. Sure, soon I’ll be in India and Cambodia. Maybe they’ll have the infrastructure sorted out when I get back (I doubt it).


  • steve

    wow, didn't know you were going away. cool.

  • Aye, have to oversee the sound mix of the feature film I'm working on. Going over to India in 3 weeks, and am going to stay over there and head on to Cambodia to visit Warren, Phil and Su.

    Can't wait. Just have to get the mammoth amount of work cleared first..

  • John Ramsey

    The real problem as far as I am concerned is the fixation with Broadband, it is an old technology and is a dea end. We ned to move beyond it.

    • Absolutely. Fibre to the Home is now required (or more!). I think it's high-time that the Irish government realised that they've completely missed the boat and need to leapfrog to the next technology. That would be the smart move which would pay dividends beyond the costs of implementation.

      Of course the current concept that Three are able to meet the needs of a national coverage system is completely laughable.

  • 2BiT

    we needed this 10 years ago!

    Around that time I was working for one of Irelands new tech startups (e-learning) that the government were so keen to base in our 'knowledge economy'.

    Sold on a highly skilled workforce, low corporation tax etc. many hitech companies saw Ireland as a good base of operations…until these hitech outfits tried to get online….

    I think the company I was working for was paying somewhere in the region of 3K per month for a fat net connection, that was unreliable and suffered from throttling.

    No surprise that many of the tech companies that initially moved here are now shifting to India etc.

    With many tech companies moving to cloud based services and the bandwidth demands of context aware and smart services we absolutely need to steal a march on the current state of the art.

    It'll never happen though.

  • It really is becoming critical to have an reliable, ultra-fast net infrastructure. There's no other way to compete at the moment.

    According to speedtest.net, and not including educational institutes or corporate connections, Korea leads the way on average download speed. In Europe the place to be appears to be Latvia for some reason, or maybe the Aland Islands.

    After I've experienced the woeful connections speeds of Cambodia though, everything will feel super fast.