The government’s ‘Group Broadband Scheme’ will help small communities in Ireland to set up their own local high-speed Internet access, even if the big telco’s aren’t interested in deploying services in the area.
The government also seems to be hoping that the scheme will draw out new entrants to the telephone marketplace. The scheme is designed to encourage participation by small- and medium-sized telcos, who will be able to avail of greater government funding.
Personally, I think it is great, because it encourages the development of cheaper, alternative infrastructure to Eircom. Eircom’s services in the Irish market are overpriced and not rolled out very widely. Sooner or later, new technology will bring new entrants to the ‘last mile’ market, and Eircom’s profitability could change quite quickly.
One thing they’re not very clear about is their new requirement that an ISP or ‘Authorised Operator’ be involved. This is *bad* news IMO. cf: http://taint.org/2004/03/09/180600a.html
I disagree a lot. I went into a lot of detail about it on boards.ie (http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=145990). Doesn’t it sound like a sensible idea, to get a professional ISP involved, to benefit from their expertise, their adminstrative setup and the bandwidth deals they have available to them. It’s ok running it as a club for the first few years, but in the long-term, someone is going to have to take the management of these networks in-hand.
Besides, there’s no strict requirement to absolutely have a partnership with a commercial company. If the community really wants to establish itself as a fully-fledged ISP, that looks like it would be fine too.