Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has slammed the Communications Minister after it emerged that the roll out of the National Broadband Plan to isolated and rural communities will not now take place until 2019 at the earliest.
Deputy Brendan Smith says the delays are indicative of this Government’s dismissive attitude to rural Ireland.
“Minister Naughten’s latest revelation that he doesn’t expect any progress on the roll out of broadband to 542,000 households in rural communities for at least 18 months is astounding. Considering the original deadline for completion of the National Broadband Plan was 2018, it’s a farce that many rural areas across Cavan and Monaghan will not even see preliminary work carried out until 2019”, said Deputy Smith.
“The fact that Minister Naughten is prioritising Eir’s commercial contract speaks volumes about its commitment to rural communities. He admitted in the Dáil last week that work on the NPB is being put on hold until Eir completes its commercial contract to connect 300,000 homes. This is incredible and will leave rural homes and businesses in Cavan and Monaghan with second rate broadband access for at least another 18 months.
“The constant delays to the National Broadband Plan are bordering on the ridiculous at this point. The Minister seems to be pushing back the deadline for completion every couple of months. All the while, rural communities are seeing a huge digital divide emerge in their broadband provision. Unfortunately is doesn’t appear as if the Minister will deliver on this plan any time soon”.