Ó Murchú: Acceleration of Broadband is Imperative

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Broadband and Communications, Ruairí Ó Murchú TD has welcomed the commitment by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to ‘technically and commercially assess the plans to accelerate the National Broadband Plan’.

Mr Ó Murchú made a number of recommendations around the survey, design, build and connection aspect of the National Broadband Plan commenting on the number of community accessible Broadband Connection Points that have yet to go live.

He said: ‘I welcome NBIs commitment to provide the Minister for Transport and Communication Networks an update on the possible acceleration of timeframes in early 2021.

‘Households just outside of Dundalk and Drogheda in my own constituency face the situation where neighbouring households and townlands have access to broadband through private operators while they do not.

‘In Dundalk 2,770 households have been given the timeframe of August – October 2021 for an anticipated date for connection.

‘I urged NBI given the proximity of private operators and existing infrastructure in areas, that short-term solutions be considered.

‘I welcome the commitment made today by NBI to approach private operators to discuss short term solutions for these households.

‘The National Broadband Plan aims to have 544,000 homes, schools, farms and businesses fitted with a fibre connection by 2025. There will be households waiting five years for a broadband connection and the survey and design phase must take into consideration the fastest option for household connection.

‘The announcement by National Broadband Ireland of a team solely focused on the acceleration of all aspects of the broadband rollout is positive and I look forward to receiving the detailed monthly updates they have committed to.

‘At a time when many people are working from home, we need to ensure more than ever that households have access to the broadband service they need and deserve.

‘It is imperative that this project is delivered as soon as possible’.

National Broadband Plan for Louth in Disarray – Adams

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has accused the Minister for Communications, Dennis Naughten of abandoning rural dwellers though his decision to further privatise the delivery of high speed broadband.

Gerry Adams said;

“The Ministerial announcement this week that delivery of broadband to nearly 300,000 rural homes and businesses has been handed over to Eir is very troubling.

“The fact that this further privatisation of broadband provision comes with no timeframe for delivery demonstrates shocking incompetence and disregard for people living in rural areas.

“Over the past five years I have been consistently asking the Minister, on behalf of Louth homes and businesses, when high speed broadband will be a reality.

“Responses to date have made hopeful indications that 2021 might bring a new dawn in communications for Louth residents.

“However, this announcement and the lack of information about how the process will work, means that those who are to be provided with Broadband by EIR don’t know when this will occur.

“It has also resulted in those providers who were tendering for delivery of the National Broadband Plan to reassess their interest.  This means previous timeframe estimates for State provision are also null and void.

“I am deeply frustrated that the Government and Minister Naughten appear to have facilitated private commercial interests to jeopardise the delivery of essential communications infrastructure to the rural population.

“I have submitted a series of Parliamentary Questions to the Minister seeking more definitive answers on this important issue.”

Broadband for Louth – Gerry Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Denis Naughten to state “when households and businesses in Louth can expect to have full access to broadband?”

The Louth TD was speaking in the Dáil today during a Private Members debate on Rural Broadband.

Teachta Adams said:

“Rural Ireland has long been denied essential services and resources that many urban areas take for granted. This has been particularly true in the provision of broadband, which in the 21st century is essential for business, education and communication purposes.

On Tuesday the Minister announced that the government has chosen to adopt the Commercial Stimulus Model as its ownership model for broadband which will leave our communications infrastructure in the hands of the private sector and not the state. This is a mistake.

The decision to opt for the privatisation model in order to reduce costs is short sighted and deeply flawed and will ultimately cost the state and consumers much more in the future.

There is also widespread concern at the length of time that will now be needed to provide broadband access to all parts of the state.

In my own constituency of Louth the former Minister for Communications Alex White told me in a PQ response last December that there are still 15,000 premises and households in County Louth to be covered by the new arrangement.

The future availability of broadband to much of County Louth will now be dependent upon the private sector provider.

Six months ago Minister White predicted that 85% of addresses in the state would have access to high speed services by 2018, with all addresses by 2020.

Minister Naughten’s scheme will see that timeframe pushed back to 2022 and there is no timeframe for broadband for Louth.”