‘Denis needs to explain broadband delay in Dáil’

Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice (Independent) has called on Minister Denis Naughten to come into the Dáil and explain the nature of the “latest delay” on plans for nationwide broadband rollout.

  In a statement, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “The news last week that there is to be another delay in the provision of broadband is another serious blow to rural Ireland and a further signal that this Government, who are only five months in office, are failing to address the many problems that exist in rural areas.

  “We are now told that many homes and businesses could be waiting until 2023 for this scheme to be introduced, which is totally unacceptable. It is thought that by then Ireland’s broadband systems will probably be out of date.

  “I am calling on Minister Naughten to come into the Dáil and explain what the nature of this latest delay is.

  “The tendering process needs to be speeded up and the funds to complete that process should be provided in the Budget.”

  Deputy Fitzmaurice, in a series of press statements, has called for the Budget to address the housing crisis, the needs of carers, problems with the school bus service, farming issues, the woes of middle income earners and the need for an increase in the old age pension.

DAN DOONER WRITES: Minister Naughten, speaking in Roscommon town on Monday, said that high-speed broadband will be made available to “every home and premises in Ireland” but admitted that it was “a slow and complex process.”

  Responding to concerns raised by IFA Chairman, John Hanley, at the launch of the Agri Digital Skills for Farm Families Scheme (coverage in our next issue) in Hannon’s Hotel, Minister Naughten said: “It is a big challenge to bring it to the last 30% of the population and at the moment we’re in negotiations with about three consortia. The contract document is 225,000 words long. This is a contract for the next 25 years and we need to get it right today so that we don’t make mistakes…(It’s important) that we make the right decisions now that actually ensure that we have high-speed broadband not just in 5 or 10 years time, but as technology changes, that it’s there in 15 years and 20 years time too.”