Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers says her party is fully committed to rolling out broadband to all homes in the county, however she will not support the flawed plan being pushed by Fine Gael.

The current National Broadband Plan being proposed by the government will deliver access to a third fewer homes, will takes three times as long to build, and costs six times the original price.

Deputy Chambers explained, “Make no mistake, Fianna Fáil wants to see every home and business in Mayo have access to a high speed broadband service, however the current plan, which Fine Gael is pressing ahead with, against the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, is deeply flawed.

“Not only is it going to cost more, if the government plan is seen through, the State will not even own the network, despite the taxpayer having paid for it. It is not value for money. And no amount of government spin changes that simple fact.

“This process was badly handled from the start, and my party consistently raised concerns about the tender process. Now we’ve reached a point whereby Fine Gael is bullishly pushing a plan which is costing six times as much as the original price and is refusing to even consider a proposal from Eir, which claims it can complete the NBP for under €1bn, compared to the €3bn that the preferred bidder is charging.

“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 a state-owner company (such as the ESB) is the best option for the delivery of broadband to rural Ireland. We wrote to the Minister for Communications expressing this preference in 2016, and we tabled this proposal in the Dáil, and gained majority support, for it last year. We believe that proposals which could generate significant savings for the taxpayer should be examined fully.

“The Minister for Rural and Community Development has called for “political honesty”, I think its time he practiced what he’s preaching”, concluded Deputy Chambers.