More than 60,000 homes and businesses across Galway still have no access to broadband; many will have to wait another six years before the National Broadband Plan is implemented; and some towns are unlikey to be included on any future broadband plans.
According to Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte, villages like New Inn, Menlough, Gurteen and Woodford may not see broadband connections in place until 2020, while areas like Kilchreest, Clonfert and Meelick are not included on the NBP list, and “may have to wait years before they have access to a decent broadband connection”.
Dep Rabbitte also noted how in her own town of Portumna fibre was rolled out last year, but only along the main street, meaning homes on the town outskirts “have extremely poor internet access”.
She also expressed concern that one of the commercial operators, Eir, has indicated it only intends to extend the service to “communities and villages with populations of 800 people or more”. This led the TD to ask, “What happens to the towns and villages with fewer people than this? Will they be left behind?”
Dep Rabbitte, who is FF spokesperson for children and youth affairs noted how implementation of the National Broadband Plan has been delayed “numerous times”.
“Towns and villages across County Galway have been left behind because they are unable to access a fast, secure internet connection,” she said. “Other towns may have to wait years before they have access to a decent broadband connection.”
She said rural Ireland needs “assurances that fibre will be rolled out as a matter of priority”. She is also calling on ministers Humphreys and Naughten to ensure the National Broadband Plan is fully rolled out without delay so “communities right across the country, not just in large urban areas, get the services they so badly need”.