Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney T.D., welcomed King Carl XVI Gustaf and her majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden to Ireland today, 24 May 2019, as part of their majesties' State Visit to Ireland, participating in a seminar on how digital infrastructure is shaping society and industry.
The event, at the Ericsson Software Campus in Athlone, attended by high-level stakeholders from both the Swedish and Irish administrations and telecommunications and digital sectors, featured a robust discussion on the benefits of digital infrastructure and the sharing of case studies on how fibre and 5G technologies can offer new opportunities for businesses and citizens alike. Minister Canney participated in a panel discussion on The Development of 5G and Fibre and its impact on the society and industry of the future, accompanied by leading figures in the telecoms industry.
Minister Canney said: "I am delighted to welcome His Majesty, King Carl Gustaf, and Her Majesty, Queen Silvia of Sweden. Our two countries have much in common not only in terms of deep historical roots but also in facing our digital future from a broadly shared perspective. The Digital Single Market will deliver numerous benefits to European consumers and businesses; fostering innovation, contributing to the economy and creating potentially thousands of new jobs, all of which will enhance daily life across Member States such as Ireland and Sweden.
Minister Canney continued: "In terms of the digital economy, the benefits of high-speed communications networks facilitating digitalisation should be felt nationwide – in rural areas as much as in urban areas and across all aspects of our social and economic lives. In that regard, the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, of which I am Chair, is ensuring that solutions are being brought to coverage deficits, and ensuring that when the time comes to roll out the National Broadband Plan, our starting point will not be from zero, but having laid solid foundations we will be further down the road towards a digitally connected Ireland for all."
At the digital event, Minister Canney also held a bilateral meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Minister Anders Ygeman, Minister for Energy and Digital Development, affording an opportunity for a fruitful discussion on digital affairs in Ireland and Sweden against the wider backdrop of European digital discussions.
Notes to editors:
- The seminar How Digital Infrastructure is Shaping Society and Industry was held as part of the Swedish State Visit, which took place between 22 and 24 May 2019. The itinerary covered a variety of matters, including renewable energy, digital infrastructure and health challenges.
- The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce is a Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to identify solutions to broadband/mobile phone coverage deficits and to investigate how better services could be provided to consumers prior to full build and rollout of the network planned under the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State Intervention. The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce was established in July 2016 arising from this commitment.
- Now in its third year of operation, the Taskforce continues to focus on issues that are negatively impacting upon the rollout of essential telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas through an annual work programme. The Taskforce publishes quarterly reports on progress made. The 2018 review of the Taskforce's work, which has been published by Minister Canney, provides an overview of progress made in respect of the 2018 work programme.
- Quarterly and Annual Reports of the Taskforce can be found here