Broadband blow

The provision of broadband in the towns of Castlerea and Boyle has been stopped by the Government, according to Cllr. Michael McGreal who this week said that planned Metropolitan Area Network projects for the two towns have been axed due to a lack of finance. However, another local councillor Tony Waldron (Fianna Fail) said that, if such a decision is announced, he will fight it tooth and nail. Councillor Michael McGreal this week said that he had been informed by the Department of Communications that despite the fact that final designs were presented to the Department for Boyle and Castlerea over a month ago, the Department of Finance have directed that no new broadband town tenders are to be invited. The Fine Gael councillor said that Roscommon County Council and the Department of Communications were working together for the past two years on the design and layout for the two towns. At this stage 60 of the 90 towns in the Broadband Action Plan are complete or underway. Cllr. McGreal claims that Boyle and Castlerea are in a group of only four towns that have not been allowed to tender following intervention by the Department of Finance. Cllr. McGreal said this week that the Shannon area has now been targeted as an urgent area to receive broadband even though it was not on the original list of 88 towns published in 2004. Cllr. McGreal has called on Fianna Fáil representatives and interested development groups to speak out on this issue. According to Cllr. McGreal, the broadband action plan was a successful scheme where local authorities, in consultation with the Department of Communications, designed the layout of the town schemes and then tendered out and supervised the projects with funds provided by the Department of Communications. ‘This will not happen in Castlerea and Boyle,’ said Cllr. McGreal. Pledging to ensure that high-speed broadband is brought to Castlerea and Boyle, Cllr. Tony Waldron said, ‘I’m confident that we will get funding for this and get it back on track because it’s very necessary for job creation in the IT sector.’ He pointed out that no official announcement that no further tenders are to be sought was made and added, ‘At the moment wireless broadband is available in Castlerea but that isn’t sufficient for companies that would be looking for faster broadband. We’ll fight this tooth and nail,’ said Cllr. Waldron.