Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has called for an independent, expert audit of Ireland’s phone coverage which would include regional mapping, and grading of coverage to identify levels of patchy coverage.
The Bandon-based councillor says it’s needed because of a high volume of dropped calls and bad 3G coverage in large parts of rural Ireland.
‘Ireland is in the midst of a digital divide. Thousands of people are without proper mobile phone coverage everyday and businesses are suffering as a result,’ said Cllr Murphy O’Mahony.
‘I am aware that ComReg are of the view that mobile coverage in Ireland is of an appropriate standard, but travelling to all parts of West Cork as I have for months on end now, as part of the General Election campaign, it is clear that the reality on the ground is very different than what the regulator thinks is happening.’
‘We need a national mobile phone coverage audit, carried out by international experts. ComReg should ensure this includes a proper review of the regions. Fianna Fáil is then proposing to launch a National Mobile Phone Infrastructure Plan and the regional mapping arising from the audit will point out where this investment needs to be prioritised,’ she said.
She added that Fianna Fáil will also require Comreg to enforce coverage standards through its licensing contracts which wold include meeting national coverage targets. ‘Where there is no reasonable alternative, we will roll out state funding for improved coverage and allocate a capital sum of €50m for this,’ she said. ‘Fianna Fáil will also enforce 4G national coverage standards through licensing contracts. The perception of the mobile phone coverage in Ireland is simply not reflective of reality.
‘That’s why I believe an expert-led international audit will shed light on the real needs of the country,’ she said.