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Irish broadband plan gets EU green light for 2.6 bln euro funding

BRUSSELS, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday it had approved 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) of public funding for the Irish National Broadband Plan, to bring high-speed broadband services in areas poorly connected in Ireland.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement that the plan was expected to address the significant digital divide between urban and rural areas in Ireland.

"This will help households and businesses in areas of Ireland where private investment is insufficient," she said.

The new network will be able to support download speeds of at least 150 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 30 megabits per second.

It will be available in areas where such download speeds are currently not available and where no private investor intends to carry out upgrades in the future.

It will also offer wholesale access to all operators leading to more private investments in the provision of high-speed internet services to companies and households in the targeted areas, the Commission said. ($1 = 0.9074 euros) (Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)