Dublin, 29 October 2015
Minister for Communications, Alex White T.D., today (Thursday) welcomed this week's European Parliament decision to enshrine the principles of net neutrality into European law. Launching Ireland's first national Internet Day, at a public exhibition marking 15 years since the establishment of the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), Minister White said the move would help preserve freedom of expression on the internet.
Under the first EU-wide open internet rules, which were endorsed by the European Parliament on Tuesday of this week, internet service providers will be obliged to treat all traffic equally with no blocking or throttling of online content, applications and services.
Speaking on the future development of the internet Minister White said: "One of our greatest challenges is to preserve the internet's culture of freedom of expression. In this regard, I very much welcome the European Parliament's decision, on Tuesday of this week, to back net neutrality measures. This will help ensure that every European has access to an open internet where users are free to use their favourite web services no matter how they subscribe."
Minister White also said it would be necessary to widen and deepen the digital society so that "the benefits of connectivity are easily available to all our citizens, wherever they happen to live, and regardless of their age or economic and educational background.
"That's why the Government has funded measures like the BenefIT programme, which has delivered community-based training in basic internet skills to over 135,000 people in recent years, and the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, which has helped over 1,350 Irish small businesses to develop their online trading capacity.
"We have delivered high speed broadband connectivity to every second-level school in Ireland. And we are determined to stay on schedule to deliver high-speed broadband access to every home, school and business in Ireland by 2020 – with 85% reached by 2018 – through the National Broadband Plan."
Minister White commended the IEDR for its work in helping Irish businesses navigate the digital environment.
Internet Day recognises Ireland's contributions to the internet economy, and the IEDR's role in maintaining the .ie namespace and enabling and supporting e-commerce and website optimisation amongst Irish SMEs.