Rural broadband ‘milestone’ is nothing of the sort – Stanley
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Communications Brian Stanley TD has said that what Minister Denis Naughten has called a “significant milestone” may in fact end up as a millstone around the necks of rural people, after the announcement that there now will be only two bidders for the rollout of rural broadband.
The Laois TD said:
“It is unfortunate only two bidders are tendering for the National Broadband Plan which could mean the State paying more in a subsidy due to a less competitive tender. This government is ever more boxing itself into a corner and it is rural people who may ultimately suffer the blows.
“Out of the 800,000 households under the broadband plan, Eir have been allowed earlier this year to cherry pick 300,000 customers. This has thrown up a lot of difficulty for the future broadband connection in the harder to reach rural communities, which I have already highlighted.
“What we now have is that Eir, which is now dominant on these more commercial rural routes, being one of only two bidders for the remaining households. The Minster said this morning at Committee that this is the most complex contract of its type in terms of broadband globally. Yet, the Government seems to be handing over control through a lack of a competitive tender.”