Government National Broadband Plan in disarray - Brian Stanley TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Communications, Brian Stanley TD, has said the plan to connect 542,000 rural households with high speed broadband is now in complete disarray, and the Government has lost control of the process with only one bidder left in the procurement.
Speaking in the Dáil this evening, The Laois TD said:
“The seeds of this fiasco were sown in the 1999 privatisation of the State company, Telecom Éireann, which was a disaster. It had built and invested in, with taxpayer’s money, a modern up to date communications network in the 1980’s and 1990’s only for this to then be sold off under Fianna Fail.
“Sinn Féin has said that going the privatisation route with the National Broadband Plan was not the way to go. People are waiting 6 years after it was first announced for broadband in rural Ireland and we are no closer to connection.
“The recent much hailed roll out by Eir of 300,000 cherry picked ‘easy reach households’ means that a private company has the State over a barrel when it comes to negotiating the connection 542,000 homes and businesses that are without access.
“State ownership would have facilities a less complex and less expensive process. Sinn Féin is calling for a full examination of State ownership on rolling out this essential infrastructure.
“We are also calling for a feasibility study on using existing state infrastructure held by the ESB for broadband rollout and for the government to place an obligation on existing and future broadband service providers to provide a guaranteed minimum connection speed.
“That is vital if any form of economic development is to happen in rural Ireland.”