Fianna Fáil’s Communications spokesperson Michael Moynihan has demanded more investment in Ireland’s broadband infrastructure.  His call comes as the 25th anniversary of the internet prompts discussion about changing online habits.

Deputy Moynihan commented, “According to reports, there has been a 75% increase in internet usage in Ireland in the last year.  Smartphone and tablet sales are soaring, leading to a greater demand for high quality broadband and fibre optic services.  The ever increasing popularity of online TV streaming services and movement of increasing numbers of services online is shifting the status of broadband services from luxury to necessity.

“Despite these increases, figures from Eurostat show that only 67% of Irish households had a broadband connection in the second quarter of 2013, well below the EU average of 76%.  The Government’s rural broadband scheme is failing to make any major improvements, with only 25% of targeted homes connecting to a broadband service, creating a digital divide between urban and rural communities.

“Even in areas that are served by broadband, speeds can be poor.  This is especially so in areas with high levels of temporary seasonal occupancy.  I intend to propose an amendment to the ESB Electronic Communications Networks Bill 2013, which would ensure that speeds promised and advertised by providers are reflected in reality.

“While in office, Fianna Fáil committed over €450 million euro to the provision of broadband services between 1999 and 2011, laying the groundwork for the current network.  It’s essential that the Government builds on this and fulfils its promise to roll out  high speed fibre optic cables across the country in order to guarantee security of speed as well as service”.