In its efforts to “get every European digital”, the European Commission has raided agricultural funding to try and get farmers surfing.
Despite dedicated funds such as the Connecting Europe Facility being slashed, the Commish has found a new way to get cash for rural broadband roll-out.
On Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Crețu unveiled plans to provide ultra-fast broadband to the wilds of remote Ireland.
The European Regional Development Fund will give Ireland €75m to invest in increased connectivity in the country. Meanwhile, the bottomless pit of cash that is the Common Agricultural Policy fund plans to splurge between €1.6bn and €2bn on rural internet in the EU.
Hogan said: "Rolling out high-speed broadband for rural areas is an important policy priority for my mandate. This money will, among other things, help to prepare communities throughout the EU by providing training so that they are ready to make the most of connectivity when it is in place.”
So-called next generation access in Ireland is at around 71 per cent, but in rural areas that figure is only around 8 per cent.
Over the next five years, €75m from the EU will be matched by national funds in an effort to bridge that gap. ®