Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said it is “intolerable to think that some homes and businesses will be forced to wait at least seven years for high-speed broadband”.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said that while on one hand the plan would be welcomed, questions must be asked regarding those who would not benefit from the plan, the length of time roll-out would take and ownership of the network.
“The Government stated yesterday that approximately 540,000 premises and over 1.1 million people will benefit from this plan – but that doesn’t mean every house down every road will benefit. I hope that the contractors have the necessary competence to complete this major piece of infrastructure.
“From my understanding, the contract will not be signed for at least six months – but this could stretch to nine months. I am led to believe that it could be up to two years before the first 120,000 premises are connected.
“Then they appear to be looking at a system of connecting 70,000 additional premises per year. It is baffling to think that eir can connect in the region of 300,000 homes and businesses inside two years, while it will take up to seven years for 540,000 premises to benefit from this plan,” he said.
Deputy Fitzmaurice also questioned the ultimate ownership of the National Broadband network describing it as “the most fiscally illiterate decision since the National Children’s Hospital was commissioned”.
“The scenario is akin to buying a new car, using it for a couple of years and then going back to the dealer and saying ‘you can have this back for nothing,” he said.
He concluded with the assertion that the jury was still out on a lot of the previous assertions and promises with regards to the plan and that “should it let the people of rural Ireland down once again on this, the Government would never be forgiven”.