Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív says the Government’s investment in rural broadband over the past four years has been completely inadequate. Communications Minister Alex White has admitted that the total spend on rural broadband infrastructure since 2011 has been less than €10m.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “Despite a lot of rhetoric in relation to rural broadband and the need for high speed broadband in rural areas, the actual fact of the matter is that this Government has spent less than €10m on improving broadband services. The Programme for Government committed to delivering high speed fibre broadband to 90% of homes and businesses in the programme for government. However figures show that 40% of the population remains outside the reach of high speed broadband services, with the problem particular impacting on rural areas in Galway and Mayo.
“Minister White has confirmed that only 58,000 premises have been connected to a 5mb internet speed, which in itself is totally inadequate in this day and age. There is an urgent need for every premises in this country to be connected to fibre broadband and to be future proofed. The Government has stood back and taken a hands-off approach to the broadband roll out across rural Ireland. The process has been completely convoluted and the results are unsatisfactory.
“Broadband and connectivity is a major issue in rural Ireland, and will be a major talking point in the forthcoming General Election debate. Fianna Fáil wants to see a clear commitment to provide fibre to every business and home in the country. Anything less is simply not good enough. The Government must be prepared to commit the necessary resources to make this roll out possible. Unfortunately, as with so many of the promises the Government has committed to, there is a lot of talk and spin, but no follow-up action”.