Following the announcement of the National Broadband Plan getting the green light by Government earlier today, Tuesday, May 7, TDs have given their reaction to the news.
Independent TD for Offaly Carol Nolan has “cautiously welcomed” the plan – which will provide high-speed broadband to 56,000 farms around the country, at a cost of up to €3 billion over a 25-year period – but expressed concerns regarding its terms.
She said: “While the decision to advance the NBP is to be cautiously welcomed, it is hard to avoid the impression that this is increasingly placing the broader regional regeneration of rural Ireland at risk.
There must be firm assurances – backed by statutory commitments – that funding for this project will not lead to a deterioration of previous commitments to support rural Ireland.
The TD added that it would also be “completely unacceptable” if the investment left the country “none the richer in terms of infrastructural gains”.
“Ultimately, there will be a lot of people in rural Ireland feeling that we have been backed into a corner on this – either accept this less-than-adequate deal or remain net losers in terms of accessing vital broadband support.
“For that reason alone the Government is not likely to see any great electoral advantage for proceeding with this project,” the deputy said.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley has also expressed concerns over the plan.
Deputy Dooley said: “This announcement has all the hallmarks of an election stunt and I think people will treat it with an air of scepticism.
This plan will take three times longer to deliver, cost six times the original price and on top of that, the state will not own the network built and paid for by the taxpayer.
“I think it’s very clear that this process is flawed. The reality is that when there is just one bidder at the table you have to accept their terms and conditions,” the Clare deputy concluded.