Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East has expressed serious concern about plans for the rollout of broadband across the county. More than 60,000 homes and businesses across Galway still have no access to broadband and many will have to wait another 6 years until the National Broadband Plan is implemented.
Deputy Rabbitte commented, “Fibre and high speed broadband is the number one priority for people living in rural Ireland. Towns and villages across Co. Galway have been left behind because they are unable to access a fast, secure internet connection. Even in areas which have had fibre installation “completed”, there are problems with connections. In my own town of Portumna, fibre was rolled out last year, but only along the main street. Homes on the outskirts of the town have extremely poor internet access.
“The National Broadband Plan has been delayed numerous times. Places like New Inn, Menlough, Gurteen and Woodford may not see broadband connections in place until 2020. This is an extraordinarily long time to wait for what is now considered a basic service in many of the main towns and cities across the country. What’s worse is the fact that many other areas like Kilchreest, Clonfert and Meelick are not included on the list at all, and may have to wait years before they have access to a decent broadband connection.
“This is yet another example of the two-tier recovery, which was perpetrated by the Fine Gael and Labour government over the past five years. We need assurances that fibre will be rolled out in these areas as a matter of priority.
“I am also concerned about the fact that Eir, one of the commercial operators, only intends to extend the service to “communities and villages with populations of 800 people or more”. What happens to the towns and villages with fewer people than this? Will they be left behind?
“Rural Ireland has been suffering with sub-standard broadband services for years. It is no longer acceptable given that internet access is a basic requirement for homes and businesses right across the country. I am calling on Ministers Humphreys and Naughten to ensure that the National Broadband Plan is fully rolled out without delay so that communities right across the country, and not just in large urban areas get the services they so badly need”.