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“Government Must Explore Acceleration of Broadband Plan urgently” – Chris MacManus MEP

2 April, 2021 - by Chris MacManus MEP

“Government Must Explore Acceleration of Broadband Plan urgently” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has called on the Government to engage with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to explore the prospect of accelerating the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. The Midlands North West MEP was speaking this week after meeting with representatives from NBI who indicated that they were open to discussing the acceleration of the rollout.

MacManus said:

“I was delighted to meet with representatives from NBI this week and I would like to commend them for their work so far in the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. It was fantastic in recent weeks to see the first homes connected under the plan and it will bring enormous benefits to rural communities across the State once completed.

“The rollout is scheduled to take seven years under the terms of the contract agreed by NBI and the State, and NBI expressed confidence to me that the rollout would be completed within this timeframe. NBI also indicated that they are favourable to acceleration of the rollout possibly within five years and open to discussion with Government to achieve this. In fact, they already have personnel dedicated to examining the prospect and this is very welcome.

“The lack of high-speed broadband across rural Ireland is a major issue and has certainly been a significant factor in the decline of rural communities across the State in recent years.  So this plan is key in reviving rural communities and tackling regional imbalance.  It is especially important given the effects of the pandemic which has resulted in huge numbers of people now working and studying from home. I have no doubt this trend will continue into the future even after we have emerged from the pandemic. 

“In recent months my constituency office has been contacted on an almost daily basis by frustrated constituents enquiring about the rollout of the broadband plan in their local area. For them and the thousands of people across the state working from home on an unreliable broadband connection, the rollout can’t happen soon enough. 

“Therefore, the Government should engage with NBI as a matter of urgency to explore the possibility of accelerating the rollout. A shortened timeframe would bring comfort to many people across rural Ireland struggling with poor connections and given NBI’s willingness to engage on possible acceleration, the Government must respond by being pro-active on this matter.” ENDS

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