Refusal to give timeline for broadband will leave rural Ireland in limbo land

Claire McGovern

Reporter:

Claire McGovern

Broadband

The FF Deputy believes nothing will happen for at least 18 months.

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said that the refusal of Minister Denis Naughten to provide a timeline for the State- supported National Broadband Plan means that rural Ireland will continue to wilt away in broadband limbo land

Deputy Murphy was highly critical of Minister Naughten’s commitment to a timeline for the State’s support to rollout broadband to the over 542,000 households that are currently without access.

Last week, Minister Naughten said that the ‘procurement process is continuing in parallel with the rollout of infrastructure by commercial operators.

“It seems that nothing will happen for at least 18 months, but more likely two years, as the negotiations with potential bidders will take a considerable amount of time to conclude.

“Is it the case that the Minister and his officials have been too slow at drawing up the necessary tender documents, or worse, the Minister isn’t confident that he has the funding required to deliver the National Broadband Plan?

“Either way, it leaves homeowners and business people anxiously waiting for the delivery of high speed broadband.

“The ability of the State to meet its original pledge to deliver broadband to over half a million household and businesses is now shrouded in doubt

“Rural Ireland is suffering, and is unable to compete with the major cities and large towns. Broadband can be a lifeline for these communities. A number of my constituents who run their own businesses actually find it quicker to sit in their car outside their premises on their mobile phone to send emails or conduct business because it’s quicker than sitting waiting on their computer in the office- that’s how bad the broadband speeds are in some parts of Counties Roscommon and Galway and that unfortunately is the reality of trying to do business in rural Ireland,” said Deputy Murphy.

The Fianna Fáil TD noted that in terms of broadband County Roscommon is ranked as the lowest (36%) with the number of premises served by the commercial sector as over 60% fall within the national broadband plan intervention area.