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The Irish government is pressing ahead with plans to extend broadband coverage across the whole of the Republic, it has been announced.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabitte said the National Broadband Scheme – which is geared at delivering broadband access to 99 per cent of Irish premises – is progressing well.

He added that the government was now looking to identify houses and business sites in the final one per cent, which are still set to be without access upon completion of the project.

Property owners are being invited to apply for a connection to be installed, enabling them to take advantage of high speed web services.

Mr Rabitte said that every property in Ireland should have broadband access by the end of 2012.

"It will be of particular importance to small-scale rural enterprises who will be able to trade their goods and services over the internet," he noted.

"This scheme will ensure that the remainder of rural premises will be able to get a broadband service and will make broadband available to anyone who wants it by the end of 2012."

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