Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Mayo, Dara Calleary says it is time to end the digital divide which is undermining Mayo’s potential to develop business and increase local employment opportunities. Commenting following the launch of the Fianna Fáil manifesto on Thursday, he said that now is the time for action in delivering high speed broadband and mobile phone coverage to every home and business in Mayo.
The Fianna Fáil manifesto commits to the roll out of fibre optic broadband directly to all premises in the State. The Ballina based candidate stated: “Broadband is now as important to businesses as electricity was when we rolled out the national grid in the 1960s. The two-tier recovery, which this Government has presided over, has been compounded by the failure to ensure equal access to vital broadband services across the country. High speed broadband is taken for granted in most urban centres but here in Mayo, it is intermittent and unreliable.
“The service in our communities leaves businesses without access to the internet, credit card facilities, or online booking and shopping services. These services are the norm in most parts of the world. A mobile phone coverage audit must also take place to end mobile black spots in our county. We cannot allow Mayo to be left behind.
“Under the Government’s plan, more than half of all homes and businesses in Mayo will have to wait up until 2021 for broadband services under the National Broadband Plan. This strategy is just is not ambitious enough. Fianna Fáil is committed to the roll out of fibre optic broadband directly to all premises in the State through three means — direct state intervention, commercial operators, and facilitating community solutions such as group broadband schemes.
“We will also launch a national mobile phone infrastructure plan to end mobile black spots in Mayo. I will continue to campaign for an end to the digital divide in Mayo and ensure that high speed broadband is extended to all homes in this county.”