Issues with Laois-Offaly broadband rollout raised in Dáil
Laois-Offaly Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley raised difficulties and gaps in the rollout of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) in the constituency in the Dáil.
“Some households are located in so-called “blue areas’. These are supposed to be already services by commercial Broadband providers and not in need of a connection to the National Broadband Scheme. The reality is they are not’’.
He told Michael Martin in the Dáil that "a problem arises whereby people are in neither the intervention area nor the blue area. The blue areas are the areas that are supposed to be serviced already by existing companies and networks, such as the metropolitan area networks.
"The problem is that the maps show households and businesses that are supposed to be in the covered areas, mainly on the edges of villages and towns. I have constituents in Laois and Offaly who cannot get a broadband service from a private provider.
"I have raised this matter with National Broadband Ireland and the Minister and a stock reply keeps coming back. What I am trying to get across to the Taoiseach is that many of the affected individuals are self-employed and are trying to run small businesses.
"They have children who are home-schooling and they cannot get a broadband service anywhere. This needs to be resolved. The broadband scheme, as constructed, is flawed and there are flaws with the maps. It is not good enough for National Broadband Ireland to write back to me saying it is tough luck. What we need is action. We need to get broadband to houses, businesses and farms across the midlands, including Laois and Offaly, and the rest of the country."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin replied: “The Government is very committed to the roll-out of broadband. Obviously, broadband is essential, particularly in enabling people, including the self-employed and businesses more generally, to conduct their work. It is essential for those who are working at home and students who are studying. I am referring to the nature and importance of connectivity. I will relay to the Minister what has been said here by Deputies, including on communication from the Department on areas designated on the blue map."
Commenting after the Dáil debate Brian Stanley said: “This issue must be addressed by Government as there are families and businesses in rural areas that are missing out on this vital service. We were told that high-speed broadband would be provided to every home and premises under the plan, therefore those without a service and that are not included in the intervention area cannot be left behind.”
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