Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway, Deputy Eugene Murphy has hit out at the continued delays in the signing of the contract for the National Broadband Plan which he says is having a serious impact on hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in rural Ireland waiting to be connected to the network.
There is only one company – Enet - left in the running after Eir pulled out of the process earlier this year.
“Minister Denis Naughten has failed to give any indications as to when the contract for the National Broadband Plan will be signed. Communities up and down the country simply don’t believe what the Government is saying about its broadband plans because every commitment to date has been broken. We have had nothing but delay after delay with hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still waiting to be connected to the network.
“We also have appalling broadband connectivity in county Roscommon. A recent reply to my question to Minister Naughten shows that there are over 38,500 premises in county Roscommon of which almost half or 47 percent of premises are relying on the state led intervention under the NBP.
“Some 12 percent of Roscommon premises are still due to receive high speed broadband under Eir’s ongoing planned rural deployment. Figures for Galway show that there are over 134,000 premises in county Galway of which 29 percent of premises (c. 39,000 ) are relying on the NBP. The remaining 71 percent of premises (c. 95,000 ) will be served by commercial operators, while 11 percent of Galway premises are still due to receive high speed broadband under Eir’s planned rural deployment.
“Accessing quality broadband is a core requirement for small and medium sized businesses across the country. Let’s be clear the provision of quality broadband for rural Ireland is not a luxury, it is a matter of necessity for survival. Farmers cannot complete online applications for payments, schools are unable to access educational aids and businesses are unable to operate fully functional online services.
“Minister Naughten needs to announce a date for the contract to be signed so that the scheme can be rolled out to the areas which desperately need it most,” Deputy Murphy concluded.