Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has slammed the Communications Minister after it emerged that there is no date for the roll out of the National Broadband Plan to isolated and rural communities in Offaly.
Deputy Cowen says this approach to this matter is indicative of this Government’s dismissive attitude to rural Ireland.
“Minister Naughten’s latest revelation that he doesn’t expect any progress on the roll out of broadband to 542,000 households in rural communities for at least 18 months is astounding. Considering the original deadline for completion of the National Broadband Plan was 2018, it’s a farce that all rural areas depending on the NBP do not have any idea when to expect the roll out of the NBP”, said Deputy Cowen.
“The fact that Minister Naughten is claiming Eir’s commercial contract as his own speaks volumes about the lack of action by the Government. He admitted in the Dáil that he does not have an idea as to when the NBP will be rolled out. This is incredible and will leave rural homes and businesses across Offaly with second rate broadband access for at least another 2 years," he continued.
“The constant delays to the National Broadband Plan are bordering on the ridiculous at this point. The Minister seems to be pushing back the deadline for completion every couple of months. All the while, rural communities are seeing a huge digital divide emerge in their broadband provision. Unfortunately is doesn’t appear as if the Minister will deliver on this plan any time soon," he concluded.
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