More delays to National Broadband Plan will leave rural communities behind – Brendan Smith T.D.

img3nbs

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith is warning that reported delays to the rollout of the National Broadband Plan will leave communities across the two counties without access to high speed broadband.  It comes following reports that the new Minister for Communications Richard Bruton is expected to announce that the roll out of the plan will not now begin until 2020 at the earliest.

Deputy Smith commented, “This government has failed to take control of the National Broadband Plan, and as a result we have seen delay after delay, which in turn has left hundreds of communities across Cavan and Monaghan without access to an adequate broadband connection.  At the moment, less than half of premises in Monaghan and only 54% of premises in Cavan have high speed broadband.

“Essentially only half of all homes, farms, schools and businesses can depend on their broadband.  That is nowhere near good enough in this day and age.

“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. Fourteen months have now passed and we are now facing a nightmare scenario of a full collapse of the National Broadband Plan.

“The status quo cannot continue.  Minister Bruton and his Cabinet colleagues need to wake up to the reality of the situation on the ground in rural Ireland.  There are now serious concerns being raised about the cost and the timeframe for the project – these issues need to be ironed out as a matter of urgency.  The government must commit to delivery of this essential project without further delay.

“The non- delivery of the National Broadband Plan will not be tolerated,” concluded Deputy Smith.