The announcement by Minister Denis Naughten that up to 7,500 premises in Roscommon would have high-speed broadband within the next 90 weeks has been met with a mixed response from local politicians.
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy raised serious concerns about the number of rural dwellers who would benefit from the plan.
He said: “Hundreds of thousands of rural dwellers are to be left in broadband limbo after the Government signed a contract with Eir to slash the number of homes included in the State-subsidised National Broadband Plan.
“Last July, the National Broadband Plan had its number of eligible households increased by 170,000. We now see the Minister removing 300,000 and adding a further 85,000 leaving a net reduction in 215,000.”
Deputy Murphy said that communities “simply don’t believe what the Government is saying about its broadband plans” due to what he claimed were broken commitments in the past.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator, Maura Hopkins welcomed the announcement but said “it is very important now that we see evidence of these commitments being delivered.”
Senator Hopkins added: “I am very concerned however that even with this delivery of broadband announced this week, we will have a situation where almost half of homes in the county (48%) will still not have access to high speed broadband.
“Broadband is absolutely critical for individuals and businesses in rural areas. If we are going to be able to ensure businesses can compete on a level playing field with other parts of the country, delivery of broadband is essential to all parts of our county. We are currently competing at a completely unfair disadvantage.”
The National Broadband Plan will provide 300,000 homes and businesses with access to fibre broadband with the potential for speeds up to 1,000 megabytes per second.