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Ireland still offline when it comes to broadband - Crowe

6 September, 2006

Speaking today Sinn Féin Communications Spokesperson Séan Crowe TD blamed Ireland's poor take-up of broadband on the "flawed broadband policies of this government and the Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey".

Deputy Crowe said, "Ireland now ranks second lowest when it comes to broadband take-up in the European Union. Our telecommunications farce can be traced back to this government's decision to privatise Telecom Eireann (now Eircom) in 1999. With this selling off of state assets, insatiable profit making took precedence over the construction and modernisation of our telecommunications infrastructure. In every attempt to get Eircom to invest in broadband and infrastructure, the government were humiliatingly told where to go by Eircom.

"The result sees Ireland still offline when it comes to broadband with around just 8 per cent of the Irish population with broadband, compared to an average of 15.9 per cent for the 15 original countries, requiring Ireland to double its broadband uptake just to meet the EU average.

"The venture capitalists profited from the Eircom privatisation fiasco while our telecommunications infrastructure suffered. The government have stated that they are attempting to address the problem of poor broadband availability by building high-speed broadband networks in towns and cities, but once again it will be the tax-payers who will have to foot the bill while the Eircom millionaires sit back and let the cash roll in." Críoch

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