Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue has called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte to extend the deadline for applications to the Rural Broadband Scheme by at least a month. The application process is currently due to close this Friday, 29 July 2011.
Deputy McConalogue said: “This scheme has been poorly advertised and I believe there are many people out there who are unaware that they are eligible to apply or that the deadline is this week. Minister Rabbitte recently announced that over 2000 applications had been received by 8th July 2011, however there is no doubt in my mind that there are still many rural dwellers in Donegal and across the country without broadband access who have not yet submitted applications.
“In this day and age, internet access is necessary not a luxury. While there has been significant progress over the years, it has not gone far enough. Rather than pay lip-service to rural communities, I am asking the Minister to extend the deadline for applications to the Rural Broadband Scheme until at least the end of August.
“The job of processing the applications already submitted can continue. But given that the scheme was not adequately publicised, and extension to the deadline might encourage more people to apply.”