Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment to outline a timeline for the signing of the contract for the National Broadband Plan.

There is only one company – Enet – left in the running after Eir pulled out of the process earlier this year.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “Despite submitting a series of Parliamentary Questions, Minister Denis Naughten has failed to give any indications as to when the contract for the National Broadband Plan will be signed.  These delays are having a serious impact on the hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses who are still waiting to be connected to the network.

“This has a major knock-on effect, particularly in rural Ireland, which is most affected by the delays.  Farmers cannot complete online applications for payments, schools are unable to access educational aids and businesses are unable to operate fully functional online services.

“I have recently noticed that the Minister’s language has changed – claiming that 90% of the country will be covered by 2020, while completely ignoring the fact that the bulk of the remaining 10% of people who won’t be covered are living and working in rural Ireland.  They need this service as urgently as anyone else.

“The current impasse cannot be allowed to continue.  The Minister needs to announce a date for the contract to be signed so that the scheme can be rolled out to the areas which need it most”.