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Annual Forum of Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, and Minister of State, Ossian Smyth, hosted the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce National Stakeholder Forum.

The annual event is an opportunity for stakeholders across the public, private and community sectors to discuss issues relating to broadband, mobile phone coverage and connectivity.

There was a particular focus today on the importance of connectivity in the regions and how it can be used to support innovation, as well as benefitting our elderly citizens.

Delegates at the forum in Dublin heard real world examples of the benefits of advancing connectivity in communities across Ireland over the last 3 years, as well as the positive role played by our broadband officers.

Addressing the forum, Minister Humphreys said, “this taskforce is an important forum to discuss issues that impact families and communities across both urban and rural Ireland. Connectivity affects so many aspects of daily life and today’s event allows us to consider how we can use it to support innovation, job creation and balanced regional development. These goals are an integral part of the government’s rural development strategy, ‘Our Rural Future’, which is central to the positive change being delivered in rural towns and villages.”

Minister Humphreys also spoke about the impact that remote working is having in communities across the country.

The Minister added, “it can no longer be said that people need to leave their homes and communities to move to urban centres to achieve their career goals. Remote and blended working is the new norm and my department has embraced this by building the National Hub Network connecting over 300 Remote Working Hubs across Ireland. These hubs allow people in rural areas to reduce their commuting times without compromising on the quality of their work or commitment to their jobs. Remote and blended working allows us to reconsider work-life balance and address concerns around rural depopulation as well as helping to achieve our ambitious emission reduction targets. There are now many more opportunities for people to live and work in their own areas and for businesses to innovate and expand their customer base, that’s what our plan for rural Ireland – Our Rural Future – is all about.”

Speaking at the event, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth, said, “the dedicated work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband stakeholders here today is at the heart of Ireland’s progress towards our Climate Action Goals. Broadband and Mobile technology enhances the lives of everyone in Ireland, allowing us to be connected at all stages of life and to access work, education and entertainment wherever we are located. Increased digital connectivity supports communities nationwide to thrive, decreasing car journeys and commute times and supporting a better, more sustainable quality of life for us all. Connectivity is at the heart of community in our digital age. I appreciate the positive energy in the room today and look forward to working with the taskforce towards these common goals in 2023.”

The Taskforce will meet again in April 2023 to review progress on the current Work Programme. An Annual Report summarising the work of the Taskforce since being re-established will be published in Q2 2023.

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