Further delays could be on the cards for National Broadband Plan

THE Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that she is deeply dissatisfied with the Government’s handling of the National Broadband Plan, and feels that its delivery has been completely shambolic. 

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting as it has become clearer and clearer that the roll-out is well behind schedule, the speeds being offered are already out of date and the areas to be covered by commercial operators have still not been finalised.

“The roll out of the National Broadband Scheme has been slow and disorganised, almost bordering on chaotic. It seems that every time that some progress is made another issue arises and we find ourselves having to back-track. Maps have had to be re-drawn, some areas due to be covered by the State are now falling under the remit of commercial operators, and other parts of the country due to be served by these companies are now left in limbo.

“The lack of information in relation to the process, as well as the uncertainty over the timeframe is very concerning. Minister Naughten in his reply to a Fianna Fáil question says ‘the timeframe for the procurement continues to be dependent on a range of factors including the complexities that may be encountered by the procurement team and bidders, during the procurement process’. This could see the delivery of high speed broadband to homes and businesses pushed out later than the current 2018 target.

“After waiting for more than six years for the roll-out of fibre across the country, it seems that we are as far away from achieving this as ever. It is a ridiculous situation that over 900,000 premises will have to wait up until 2022 for the NBP to be fully rolled out. 

“It should be a very simple process to ensure a basic piece of infrastructure is made available to every home and business – broadband today is the equivalent of electricity 60 years ago, but the Government does not seem to understand the urgency of its delivery.

“If there is one issue that is holding rural Ireland back, it’s the lack of fibre broadband.  I will be continuing to press Minister Naughten on this matter to ensure that progress is made and that high quality broadband is delivered throughout the State,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.