Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 23 April 2018

Minister claims 300 farms a week getting access to high-speed broadband despite delays

Taoiseach accepted that the roll-out is taking far too long.

The absence of high-quality rural broadband in Ireland is holding back farming
The absence of high-quality rural broadband in Ireland is holding back farming
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Every single week 300 farms are getting access to up to 1,000 Mbps high-speed broadband, according to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

He says the Government's national broadband plan has been very successful in encouraging increased levels of investment by the telecoms sector.

This is despite the fact that the Taoiseach has acknowledged that rollout of the National Broadband Plan has been further delayed.

In the Dail this week the Taoiseach accepted that the roll-out is taking far too long.

“It is enormously frustrating for everyone waiting for broadband connections in their homes.

“We anticipate that the contract will be signed this year and probably in the middle of the year.

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

“However, it is a very complex and complicated contract, much more so than people might have anticipated.

“Certainly, the best thing to do now is stick with it and get it signed this year rather than to go back to square one,” he said.

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Fianna Fail’s Timmy Dooley described this as a major disappointment and said it signals a massive failure by successive Fine Gael governments.

“Many people feel that the Government is putting the awarding and signing of the contract on the long finger to ensure that it does not have to commit to spending money in advance of the next General Election.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Tom Burke
Communications Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Tom Burke

“The NBP will require significant exchequer funding and would impinge upon the Taoiseach’s and Fine Gael’s plans to buy the next election.

“Today’s ESRI report on the growing imbalance between the greater Dublin area and the regions will only get worse if projects such as the NBP are not rolled out.

“People who want to work from home or set up new businesses, farmers who want to access Department of Agriculture services, and students who want to engage in more e-learning are all waiting for the Government to deliver broadband to their communities. Today’s acceptance of a further delay will give no hope,” he said.

However, Denis Naughten said when he was appointed Minister just 19 months ago, 52pc of premises in Ireland had access to high-speed broadband, and today that figure is over 71pc.

“By the end of this year, it will be 77pc. Every single week 300 farms are getting access to up to 1,000 Mbps high-speed broadband.

“With commercial investment and the Government's national broadband plan, this will rise to more than 90% of premises having access to high-speed broadband by 2020.

“I will explicitly put on the record that I am working might and main to deliver broadband to every single home and premises throughout Ireland.

“I will not rest until every single premises the length and breadth of this country have access to high-speed broadband,” he said.


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