Fianna Fáil TD Marc Mac Sharry has hit out at the Communications Minister for failing to take action on mobile phone coverage. Despite claims of 90% coverage by some mobile operators, the reality on the ground is that coverage in many parts of the country is completely sub-standard.
Deputy Mac Sharry explained, “The state of mobile phone coverage across this country has gone beyond a joke. There are large parts of the country, particularly here in the North West, where coverage is practically non-existent. Various mobile phone operators claim that they are providing 90% coverage – what they fail to emphasise is that the coverage they’re referring to is population coverage rather than geographic location.
“These companies are focusing on large urban areas and leaving the rest of the country out of the loop. This is extremely frustrating for people living outside the main towns and cities, and particularly for those who have to travel. Phone signals regularly drop out and in some areas it can be near impossible to get a reliable service.
“My party has called on Minister Denis Naughten to establish a universal service obligation to guarantee a minimum standard for mobile phone services throughout the country. This Government’s track record on communications is woeful – the broadband plan is behind schedule and has not been future proofed, and if anything, mobile coverage has gotten worse and not better.
“The Minister must take drastic action to improve this situation. Other EU countries have been able to do it, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. Mobile and broadband services are an integral part of our infrastructure network and can’t be neglected. We need the Government to step up to the mark and ensure better quality and secure mobile services right across the country”.
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