Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says the €15m earmarked to provide high speed broadband to rural areas as part of Budget 2017 must be invested as a matter of priority.  The current service levels in homes and businesses across the county are completely unacceptable.

“The poor level of broadband service in Donegal has become more apparent over the last five years. Despite a series of promises and policy pledges, Fine Gael and Labour presided over an increasing digital divide.  The National Broadband Plan, first published in 2012, promised that high speed broadband would be rolled out to 90% of homes and businesses by the end of 2015, that was then pushed out to 85% by 2019, before a pledge of 100% by 2022 was made”, explained Deputy McConalogue.

“The latest move is the setting up of a taskforce to examine mobile phone and broadband coverage across the country.  Instead of new taskforces, we need the Minister and the Government to get serious about delivering these essential services to residents and business people in Donegal.

“We are fed up with the Government’s spin.  Four years after the publication of the NBP, more than half of all homes and businesses in Donegal are still without an acceptable service. Minister Naughten promised that broadband was a key priority for him – he needs to prove it by ensuring that high speed broadband is rolled out without delay.

“Broadband is not a luxury commodity – it’s an essential service.  With many homes and businesses unable to get broadband or speeds of greater than 1mb, I am calling on the Minister to concentrate his efforts and ensure that the necessary infrastructure can be put in place as soon as possible so that this long promised broadband can be rolled out without delay”.