Michael Fitzmaurice TD has reacted to news that the implementation of the National Broadband Plan will be delayed saying that “There is not much point including the revival of rural Ireland in any future programme for Government if the broadband programme is held up for three to five years as we have been told today.”
The National Broadband Plan had promised to deliver subsidised modern Internet to 750,000 rural homes and businesses by 2020. The awarding of the contracts was set to take place in the middle of this year however, the plan has been delayed because of issues surrounding the negotiations with bidders for the process. The Department now says the awarding of the contract to the winning bidder or bidders will not take place until 2017.
Michael Fitzmaurice went on to say that “One of the basic requirements for homes and businesses in rural Ireland, if there is to be a revival in the fortunes in the rural economy, is a proper broadband service and this is something that I have been very strong on since the first day I was elected. I am very disappointed to hear today that close to a million people in rural areas might have to wait up to six years for a proper broadband service. At present up to 40% of the country does not have a proper broadband service which is just not good enough.”
“Any new administration will have to set this national rural broadband programme as one of it’s main priorities and until we have a proper service to all areas of the country we cannot claim to be helping to revive rural Ireland. In addition, a proper mobile phone service in all areas of the country has to be the priority of any possible new administration. The situation that exists now whereby people have intermittent or in some cases no coverage at all is not acceptable in this day and age. Any new administration will have to work closely with the providers to ensure that these services are provided to rural people who deserve them just as much as those who live in the bigger urban areas” he concluded.