Fianna Fáil Communications Spokesperson, Timmy Dooley TD has said that reports that the National Broadband Plan will face further delays will cause even more worry and concern in the rural communities up and down the county that are desperately in need of high speed broadband.
Deputy Dooley was commenting after it emerged that new Minister, Richard Bruton is expected to announce that the roll out of the Plan will not now commence until 2020 at the earliest.
“While we are awaiting the publication of Smyth report, it’s concerning that there are mixed messages coming from Government.
“We have seen leaks about the potential increase in costs and that the roll out plan including the timeline will now change significantly.
“Over the past 14 months, Fianna Fáil has been making it clear that there was a problem with the procurement process – a process that resulted in all of the major telecom companies withdrawing from the contest.
“Fianna Fáil identified flaws in the process, and raised them repeatedly with the Government since September 2017. At the time, we requested the Government to intervene. 14 months have now passed and we are now facing a nightmare scenario of a full collapse of the National Broadband Plan.
“What is now needed is straight talking from the Government. We need concrete assurances that, regardless of the current problems with the tendering process, the Plan to connect a million people in 542,000 premises across rural Ireland is still a key priority for the Government. It must commit to commencing delivery without further procrastination and must provide the necessary funding to make it a reality.
“The Taoiseach’s failure to address the concerns and problems raised by Fianna Fáil over the last 14 months is a matter of very serious concern. For the avoidance of doubt, the Government should know that Fianna Fáil sees the non- delivery of the National Broadband Plan as a major failing,” concluded Dooley.