Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth says the rollout of the National Broadband Plan is in trouble unless the Government finds the political will to deliver on its promise. Communities across Cavan and Monaghan are deeply frustrated with poor broadband speeds, with small businesses claiming that the lack of a high quality service is having a seriously negative impact on their operations.
Her comments come following the Communications Minister’s refusal to commit to a timeline for the full delivery of the NBP.
“It’s now abundantly clear that the National Broadband Plan is falling behind badly, and what’s worse is that Fine Gael are allowing this to happen on their watch. Unless there is a conscious effort by the Minister and his Cabinet colleagues – particularly those from rural areas – I remain sceptical that this plan will be delivered as promised”, said Deputy Smyth.
“This plan was scheduled to be delivered by 2016, and it’s now obvious that we will not see full connection rates reached until 2023 at the very earliest – a full seven year delay
“Minister Naughten can continue to push out deadlines, but the fact of the matter is, there are now serious doubts about whether or not the plan will be delivered. Pretending that the NBP is being delivered by private companies, on a commercial basis, such as Eir is the Minister’s tactic at present. It’s not good enough.
“If this Government is serious about rural Ireland, it needs to do more than create a new Department; it needs to deliver this vital resource to communities outside of the main towns and cities.
“There is no point offering online services to farmers, or educational supports to students if they can’t access them because their broadband service is too weak. Broadband is needed now; there can be no further slippage and it’s up to Minister Naughten and his Cabinet colleagues to ensure that it is delivered,” concluded Deputy Smyth.