Independent TD Mattie McGrath has accused the Minister for Communications Alex White of significantly scaling back on the level of planned investment allocated for the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister formally opened the procurement process for the State Intervention to provide high speed broadband nationwide by 2020:
“The Minister has termed today’s launch as a milestone in the delivery of high speed broadband when in fact it is more like another stop on the endless merry go round of Government announcements on this issue.
Since 2012 we have been listening to both this Minister and his predecessor Minister Rabbitte promise us that the provision of a decent broadband service was just around the corner.
Yet not only have none of these commitments materialised, but we have actually witnessed a serious degradation in broadband speed in that time.
What is also of serious concern is that the Minister has today confirmed that the Government has allocated just €275m in initial capital for the first 1-6 years of the 25 year procurement contract despite then Minister Rabbitte’s announcement in April 2014 that the government was set to triple its rural broadband rollout fund by investing €512m up to 2016.
That is a deficit of €237 million that I hope Minister White can explain.
What we need is a determined escalation of quality broadband service and not this endless round of consultations and promises that we have been enduring over the life time of this Government,” concluded Deputy McGrath.