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Ireland still in first gear on broadband provision – Crowe

18 April, 2007

Reacting to a damning report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications on the provision of broadband, Sinn Féin Communications spokesperson Seán Crowe said, Ireland still has not got out of first gear when it comes to broadband provision and the blame lies solely at the door of the government.

The Dublin South-West TD said, "The current poor broadband provision in this state can be traced directly back to this Government's decision to privatise Telecom Éireann, now Eircom, in 1999. Eircom have largely refused to invest in infrastructure and subsequently in broadband. The liberalisation of the communications market at the behest of Fianna Fáil and the PDs and their privatisation agenda has failed rural areas. A significant number of such areas are without broadband, because the private operators say that it is not economically viable.

"Sinn Féin is calling for broadband to be included in the definition of Universal Service. This would ensure all areas have a right to access broadband. We also want to see Eircom brought back under the ownership and control of the public.

"The Government's reaction to this poor broadband provision has come in the form of the MANs (Metropolitan Area Networks) project and the Group Broadband Scheme. However these have so far failed to deliver universal, low cost broadband. Ireland is still languishing near the bottom of the EU league in terms of broadband delivery. We have still not got out of first gear when it comes to broadband provision.

"The Government continues to fail rural areas with the lack of broadband provision, just as they continue to fail these areas by neglecting to address the crisis of rural post office closures."


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