– There are areas in rural Ireland where high speed broadband is not available without State intervention but people are still paying companies for a service which is simply not available –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has expressed his concern to the Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten about companies advertising broadband products which cannot possibly deliver what they promise because of lack of availability of high speed broadband in rural Ireland.

“I am aware that the National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to deliver reliable high speed broadband throughout Ireland through a combination of State and commercial investment. The optimistic plan originally aimed at connecting 1.8m citizens to a minimum of 30Mbps by 2020. That would only be possible if tendered contracts were awarded this year. There have already been delays in this tendering stage which has been pushed out until July next year which will ultimately mean that we could be looking at 2022 or even later for completion of the roll-out.”

“Some of the reliable well-known operators have made it clear that there are large parts of the country that they cannot make high speed broadband services available commercially. At least they are being honest in this assertion.”

“There are other operators however, who are promising broadband in rural communities, and people are signing up and paying good money for a service that will never be able to achieve what the operator has promised.”

“I know that the Department website and the National Broadband Plan have good interactive maps showing the areas of the country where there is little or no broadband coverage and where State intervention will facilitate connection in these areas. It is a little ironic that the people most affected by this issue do not have sufficient connectivity to view these websites to see the maps. I have asked the Minister to do a mailing to every household with local broadband maps and to display broadband coverage maps in public places such as libraries, and to place notices in local media so that people will know what is achievable in their area. If this happens then people will know whether promises and advertisements by broadband providers can really deliver a proper service.”

“People need to know what they are signing up for and purchasing when dealing with these companies.”

“We already have a huge divide between urban and rural areas in terms of services, with business owners in rural areas finding it frustrating with slow broadband speeds preventing them from working efficiently. It is imperative that the Government will follow through on its ambitious plan to extend reliable high speed broadband to every premises in the country.”

-Ends-

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2

(T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie