Ireland is in the "midst of a digital divide" with "thousands of people" throughout the west "without proper mobile phone coverage", a situation which is also impacting negatively on western businesses.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway East candidate Colm Keaveney, who is calling for an independent expert audit of Ireland’s phone coverage, to include regional mapping, as well as grading of coverage to identify areas worst affected by poor or no reception.
The controversial TD said he understands that ComReg "are of the view that mobile coverage in Ireland is of an appropriate standard" but "the reality on the ground is very different than what the regulator thinks is happening". He said there is a high volume of dropped calls and bad 3G coverage in large parts of rural Ireland.
He is calling for an national mobile phone coverage audit to be carried out by international experts. He also said Fianna Fáil is demanding ComReg enforce coverage standards through its licensing contracts, to include meeting national coverage targets. He said the party is promising to "roll out State funding for improved coverage" and allocate a capital sum of €50 million for this, "where there is no reasonable alternative". He added that FF will also enforce 4G national coverage standards through licensing contracts.