The promises made in the National Broadband Plan are “not worth the paper it’s written on” for rural Ireland a Galway TD claims.
Speaking in the Dáil, Galway-Roscommon TD Eugene Murphy had harsh words for claims that 100% of homes would have high speed broadband by 2020.
“The programme for Government promised to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas and stated that no town or village would be left behind under the National Broadband Plan.”
The broadband plan pledged to have every home and business in Ireland connected to broadband internet with minimum speeds of 30Mbps download and 6Mbps upload by 2020.
“It’s all ridiculous and not worth the paper it’s written on,” Deputy Murphy said.
When the plan was first published in August 2012 there were three main bidders to implement it Eir, Siro, and a consortium led by Enet.
However Eir and Siro have since pulled out of the running, and the consortium lost one of their biggest stakeholders when SSE left.
The consortium has indicated it intends to continue with its bid, with private investment firm Granahan McCourt taking the lead and Enet stepping back to the role of a partner supplier.
The consortium has faced further controversy over meetings one of its remaining stakeholders, businessman David McCourt, had with then Minister for Communications Denis Naughten.
Deputy Naughten resigned as Minister in October after it emerged that he had numerous meetings and dinners with Mr McCourt.
The procurement process for the National Broadband Plan will now be held up even more as it’s subject to an audit to ensure it has not been compromised to date.
The delays in the broadband plan are causing massive problems for rural residents of East Galway, Eugene Murphy insists.
According to him, more than half of premises in the area are reliant on the for quality internet, which is essential for any business in this day and age.
“Let’s be clear the provision of quality broadband for rural Ireland is not a luxury, it is a matter of necessity for survival,” he said.
“Farmers cannot complete online applications for payments, schools are unable to access educational aids and businesses are unable to operate fully functional online services.”