Rural Broadband Scheme doesn’t go far enough – Troy

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rural Broadband Scheme doesn’t go far enough – Troy
Minister Rabbitte must clarify position for those with unacceptably poor service

Local Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has welcomed the details of the Rural Broadband Scheme announced by the government, but has expressed serious concern that it appears to omit those with an unacceptably low level of service.

Deputy Troy said: “The Rural Broadband Scheme aims to ensure that every home and business across the country will have access to broadband by the end of next year. There is no doubt that this is a welcome development for the 1% of premises without access to broadband services.

“However there appears to be a gaping hole in this initiative. It seems like the scheme only applies to those with no access to any broadband scheme whatsoever. That means the homes and businesses with extremely limited broadband coverage are not eligible to upgrade to a minimum level under the scheme.

“I know of many homes and businesses in Longford and Westmeath that technically have access to broadband at the moment, but the service is so slow that it’s not usable. I find it incredulous and unacceptable that these people seem to be left out of the Rural Broadband Scheme.

“The Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte must clarify the position for those who currently have an unacceptably slow broadband service. My concern is that this scheme will be last of its kind, as the government will feel it’s given the impression that the job is done. But I will not let this issue lie. There is an urgent need for every single person across the country to have access to a reasonable and useable broadband service, and those who currently don’t have this must be included in the current initiative.

“I believe we also need a longer-term target to position Ireland as a leading broadband nation in the future. I hope that the new Next Generation Broadband Taskforce can work on setting a national minimum broadband speed, so that we all have access to a top quality service in every part of the country. But the first step is securing a basic standard of internet access for all,” concluded Deputy Troy