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Broadband plan gives rural homes unfair advantage - Greens' leader

  

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said the National Broadband Plan (NBP) process is unfairly "advantaging" rural homes.

"We're giving a better deal to rural Ireland than to my constituents," said the TD for Dublin Bay South.

He also said it would be rewarding planning "sprawl".

During a feisty Oireachtas Committee discussion yesterday on broadband, Cavan-based Fine Gael senator Joe O'Reilly told Mr Ryan that his Dublin constituency "has the Luas, the Dart, buses and entire infrastructures. The people I represent also deserve infrastructure."

Mr Ryan responded by saying: "You have the N2 and the N3", referring to national roads that pass through or around the Cavan constituency.

The clash happened as the Government claimed that it cannot legally ditch the NBP and hand it over to Eir.

Even if it could, a replacement process would take "at least" three years to agree under EU state aid rules, according to the Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Mark Griffin.

Officials said Eir's alternative solution would be substantially more expensive for rural home owners than the current NBP plan.

"If we use the Eircom model, consumers would be paying €1,000 or more to connect," said Fergal Mulligan, programme director for the National Broadband Plan.

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