Fianna Fáil TD for Longford – Westmeath Robert Troy has criticised the Government for its failure to take action on addressing poor mobile phone coverage.
The Minister for Communications Denis Naughten established the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce following a commitment made in the Programme for Government to address the issue of poor connectivity.
The taskforce published a series of recommendations last December, but progress on dealing with the issue has seemingly stalled since then.
Deputy Troy said, “Mobile phone operators claim that 90% of the country is covered by their network. However the reality on the ground is that many communities across Longford and Westmeath have patchy mobile coverage and in some cases no coverage at all. This problem used to be confined to rural areas but I am being contacted by an increasing number of people in towns and villages who are all reporting the same problem.
“Anyone who works on the go will realise that poor mobile phone coverage affects large parts of the country. The mobile operators consistently point out the work they are doing in large urban areas, such as Dublin, to upgrade the network to 4G capabilities. However the rest of the country isn’t getting a look in. Many parts of Longford and Westmeath have no mobile coverage at all, let alone 3G or 4G services.
“A reliable mobile phone network is essential for businesses looking to stay in contact with customers and suppliers. Many businesses need access to reliable phone services for email access on their smart phones. How can we expect to attract jobs into rural communities if we can’t even provide a decent mobile phone network? This is one of the most pressing issues facing rural communities, start-up’s and small business owners.
“The Government seriously needs to get its act together on this issue. It’s no use establishing a taskforce just to keep the Independent Alliance on board without actually following through with action to address the issue. We need to see serious investment in the mobile phone network to make it fit for purpose,” concluded Deputy Troy.