Ireland announced, on 9 January, at the start of its Presidency of the EU, the launch of a pan-European research project, which it believes will be "revolutionary," optimising optical fibre performance and further extending very high-speed broadband access in urban and rural zones in Europe. The 11.7 million investment is covered by a 8.1 million financing from the EU's 7th Framework Research Programme (FP7) and the remaining balance by the 13 project partners - research centres, telecoms operators and equipment manufacturers.

As was to be expected, in keeping with the Irish plan to place all the priorities of the semester under a single banner - fostering growth and employment - this project, according to Pat Rabbitte, the minister for communications, energy and natural resources, "demonstrates the critical links between research and enterprise that lead ultimately to jobs creation".

The Irish team heading up the project says the aim is toa"adopt a different technology called long-reach passive optical...

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