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Government needs to start planning for ESB to deliver rural broadband – Stanley

15 May, 2019 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Communications Brian Stanley TD has stated that is crucial that we begin planning for ESB to be used to deliver rural high-speed broadband.

Tomorrow, Sinn Féin will publish its motion to use the ESB network to deliver the project.

Speaking from Leinster House this afternoon, Deputy Stanley said:

“The Government’s National Broadband Plan represents a disaster for the Irish taxpayer. It is based upon a failed tendering process, a flawed cost-benefit-analysis, it does not represent value for money,  and the taxpayer won’t even own the infrastructure after investing almost €3 billion.

“The provision of high-speed broadband to rural Ireland is essential and must be delivered without further delay. It is therefore vital that we waste no time and begin plans for ESB’s network to be used.

“Sinn Féin will be tabling our motion on June 11th to put an end to the Government’s awful project and to move towards an ESB model to deliver the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

“We are also calling on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action, and Environment to hold a number of meetings in the following weeks to carry out an immediate, short and sharp study on the best model for ESB to deliver the new NBP.

“In order to achieve this, we are calling for officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and reform and from the Department Communication, Climate Action and Environment to come before the committee to outline these viable alternative options.

“We need urgent action and we need to begin planning for the immediate rollout of rural broadband.

“What we don’t need is a long, drawn out, navel-gazing exercise that uses up precious time by looking backwards at what’s gone wrong. Which is why Sinn Féin will not be supporting Fianna Fáil’s political stunt to carry out a retrospective investigation which will take months to complete and will further delay rural broadband.

“Now is not the time to be looking backwards. This has to be about the future.

“Sinn Féin has been consistent. We want to see the ESB appointed to deliver high speed rural broadband. Now is the time for the committee to quickly determine, before the summer, the best model through which ESB can deliver.” 

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