With many people now working from home and reliant on good broadband connectivity, and with the rollout of the National Broadband Plan stalled, the Government needs to show flexibility in implementing and enforcing broadband contracts.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD, Noel Grealish, who has been "receiving daily" contact from constituents seeking advice on upgrading to eFibre with Eir. "In many cases people see the poles with the efibre, but cannot get it into their own homes and this is a source of huge frustration," he said.
Following correspondence with Eir, Dep Grealish was informed that the company had a contract to roll out efibre to specific locations only. All other locations are covered through the €3bn National Broadband Plan contract the Government signed last November. "Eir cannot provide efibre to any houses outside their contract, no matter how close the property is," said Dep Grealish.
'Such flexibility would enable people to secure a better internet connection, continue to work from home, and follow the public health advice'
However, "the world has now changed completely since the National Broadband contract was signed" with "thousands of people working from home and students studying and taking classes online". The Covid-19 pandemic has also meant a delay in the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. "Meanwhile people are struggling to get a good internet connection to work remotely," said Dep Grealish.
The Carnmore based TD has written to the Communications Minister, Richard Bruton, and the Chief Executive of Eir, Carolan Lennon, to see if "some flexibility can be achieved where properties are in close proximity to existing Eir network".
He said such flexibility should only apply to those already living in close proximity to an efibre connection, but that it would enable them to secure a "better internet connection and continue working from home and follow the public health advice at this unprecedented time".