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Sinn Féin publishes motion to use ESB network to deliver broadband to rural Ireland

16 May, 2019 - by Brian Stanley TD


Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Communications Brian Stanley TD has this afternoon launched his parties’ motion which calls on the ESB network to be used to deliver broadband to rural Ireland through a new National Broadband Plan.

Sinn Féin will be tabling the motion on the 11th of June during its Private Members’ Time.

Speaking from Leinster House this afternoon, Deputy Stanley said:

“The provision of high-speed broadband to rural Ireland is essential and must be delivered without further delay.

“However, we must proceed in a way that is both credible and deliverable.

“The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) 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 €3b.

“Sinn Féin has therefore published our motion this afternoon which calls for the Government’s failed NBP to be scrapped and for us to move towards a new NBP to be delivered using the ESB network.

“The ESB brings with it a strong track record of delivering important infrastructural projects across the state, it has the existing infrastructure there and has a proven capacity to deliver and manage broadband infrastructure.

“The ESB represents the greatest guarantee to rural Ireland that high-speed broadband will be delivered in a time efficient manner which delivers value for taxpayers’ money.

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

“Sinn Féin has therefore, this morning, secured an immediate, short and sharp examination by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment to determine the best model through which the ESB would deliver the new NBP.

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

“Rural Ireland cannot wait any longer for high-speed broadband.”

ENDS//
 
Note: Text of the motion;
Dáil Éireann recognises that:
  • The provision of high-speed broadband to rural Ireland is essential and must be delivered without further delay;
  • The National Broadband Plan procurement process pursued by Government has failed, and the current single bidder does not provide value for money to the tax payer;
  • The current deal being supported by Government would involve a massive transfer of public money into private hands with the private bidder assuming little risk, and with infrastructure, paid for by the taxpayer, in private ownership;
  • There are serious concerns regarding the capacity of the current bidder to deliver the project.
Furthermore, Dáil Éireann recognises that the ESB:
  • Is a commercial semi-state company with a strong track record of delivering important infrastructural projects across the state;
  • Has extensive pre-existing infrastructure of poles and cables across the island;
  • Has proven capacity to deliver and manage broadband infrastructure.
Therefore, Dáil Éireann calls for:
  • The current National Broadband Plan to be scrapped;
  • An immediate, short and sharp study to be undertaken to examine the best model for delivery of a new National Broadband Plan through the ESB to every home, farm and business in rural Ireland;
  • The ESB network to be used to deliver to deliver this new National Broadband Plan;
  • The infrastructure to remain in public ownership

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