Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says new information provided to him by the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment reveals that 180,000 homes and businesses will still be without a high speed broadband service after 2020.

“While private communications companies have been rolling out fibre broadband in rural areas, the reality of the situation is that by the end of 2018 the majority of rural homes will still not have access to high speed broadband”, explained Deputy Ó Cuív.

“Out of the 800,000 units in rural areas identified by the Department a number of years ago, only 300,000 will be connected by the end of 2018.  The current projections show this number increasing to 620,000 homes by 2020, but this still leaves 180,000 houses waiting for this basic service.

“I find it particularly disconcerting that the Department of Communications is still not able to give an indication of the timeframe as to when the contract for the national broadband service will be signed.  Despite raising the issue numerous times with the Minister and his officials, I have been unable to get a commitment from them on a date for the roll-out of the plan on the ground.

“It’s time for the Department to stop stalling on this issue, to stop taking credit for the efforts of private companies and to start rolling out the broadband plan so that all homes in rural Ireland have access to this vital service”.