Fianna Fáil TD criticises plans for more roadside mobile phone masts
Plans to build more masts beside motorways to tackle mobile phone coverage 'blackspots' has been criticised by Fianna Fáil's communications spokesperson.
An interdepartmental group is examining a range of measures to improve mobile phone coverage across the country with many rural areas in particular poorly served.
The group has reviewed issues relating to the location of overground telecommunications infrastructure (masts) on public roads, including motorways.
It will report in the coming weeks and will advise on the potential location of the masts.
The group is chaired by the Department of Transport but also includes representatives from the Department of Communications, local authorities and the National Roads Authority (NRA).
It is understood the masts will be built on land already owned by the State and so costs will not be accrued in purchasing land.
The construction of the masts will be subject to planning applications and it will be up to mobile providers to build them.
Particular consideration is being given to avoiding locating the masts where they could distract drivers.
However, the plan has been criticised by Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan.
"There are major issues with mobile phone coverage in a lot of areas and there's a major issue with broadband as well. The problems seem to be deteriorating rather than getting better," he said.
He said he was in favour of anything that would improve coverage, but added: "I'm sure the technology is there that can be looked at rather than having more masts and more pylons around the place blotting the landscape."