THE announcment this week that SSE, the last would-be hi-speed broadband provider, has withdrawn from the tender process has left many communities and businesses in West Cork concerned for the future, according to a local TD.
‘The National Broadband Plan was first announced in 2012 but has been plagued by a litany of problems ever since,’ said Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Deputy Aindrias Moynihan. ‘It promised to bring high speed broadband to rural Ireland, but more than six years later there are well over 500,000 homes, businesses and farms without a connection, including many areas in West and South Cork.’
Deputy Moynihan is laying the blame for the ongoing NBP saga firmly at the door of the government.
‘The SSE announcement is a significant blow to the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and poses a serious threat to its future,’ Deputy Moynihan said.
‘This is particularly worrying for people living in rural areas, who have already been waiting years for access to a high speed line.
‘This latest move exposes the fact that none of the companies, which could deliver the service, can see a way of making a decent financial return on it. What’s needed now is a commitment from the government to rural Ireland to financially back the NBP so that it can actually be rolled out.’
Deputy Moynihan is calling on the communications minister, Denis Naughten to immediately step in to insure the effective delivery of high-speed broadband across rural Ireland. ‘Minister Naughten has remained off the grid since this announcement was made,’ Deputy Moynihan said.
‘This is unacceptable – we need to hear from the government as to what the plan is to ensure that farmers submitting forms, young people studying for college and school exams, people building and running businesses, tourists visiting our area, and families wishing to keep contact across large distances who are still waiting for high speed broadband, get connected.’