Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has said that the further delay to the National Broadband Plan (NBP) is symptomatic of Fine Gael’s complete disregard for the people of rural Ireland.
Deputy Cahill was commenting as the rollout time for the NBP has risen to seven to ten years, not three as was initially thought.
He explained, “Fine Gael is now promising to deliver the National Broadband Plan to a third fewer homes, taking up to three times longer, and costing the taxpayer six times the original price. On top of that, the state will not own the network built and paid for by the taxpayer.
“Fianna Fáil is focussed on ensuring that the National Broadband Plan is delivered quickly and for a price which represents value for money for the taxpayer.
“Our position has been clear throughout, we believe that a state-owner company (such as the ESB) is the best option for the delivery of broadband to rural Ireland. We expressed this preference as far back as 2016 and tabled this proposal in the Dáil, which was supported by the majority of TDs in February 2018. However, the government failed to even examine the option.
“The Department of Public Expenditure & Reform itself has admitted that the project, as currently constituted, does not represent value for money.
“At the end of the day the people of Tipperary can’t wait any longer. Farmers are expected to fill out applications for the various schemes online, students can’t complete projects and the prospect of working from home is only a pipe dream for many”, concluded Deputy Cahill.