Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Timmy Dooley TD, has said that further delays are likely for the long awaited National Broadband Plan as it emerged that the Minister for Communications is set to open dialogue with Eir and Imagine to discuss the implications of recent announcements for the project.

Deputy Dooley explained, “In the last two weeks both Eir and Imagine have announced plans to provide broadband services within the intervention area which will cover 400,000 premises. These announcements present yet another headache for the plan as the rollout cannot take place in areas where there is already a commercial operator.

“While the announcements made by both providers are obviously welcome, they now raise concerns around the cost, timelines and coverage of the National Broadband Plan. It is clear that the Department recognise the implications of these announcements as they have sought a meeting with Eir and Imagine to discuss the implications of these plans.

“The Minister has confirmed that his Department has received no technical plan and has not had an opportunity to scrutinise proposals. As a result, the Minister does not currently know how the National Broadband Plan will be affected.

“Any and all investments which provide those living in rural Ireland are obviously very necessary at this point but it is logical to assume that these announcements will now cause further delays for the National Broadband Plan. The size of the project could be massively changed. On top of that, the cost could increase as the number of premises signed up in the first years of the plan are drastically reduced”, concluded Deputy Dooley.