Rural areas forced to wait for broadband until 2023

Louth TD Declan Breathnach described it as ‘appalling’ that it could be 2023 before up to 8,528 rural homes and businesses in Louth are connected to broadband under the National Broadband Plan. In response to a Parliamentary Question from Fianna Fail, Communications Minister Denis Naughten confirmed that ‘network rollout will take three to five years following contract award’ under the NBP.’ The contract is expected to be awarded in 2018, meaning it will take up until 2023 to connect over half a million homes and businesses covered by State intervention.

‘It’s almost impossible to believe that more than a decade after the National Broadband Plan was first launched, thousands of premises in Louth will still not have a high speed broadband connection’, said Deputy Breathnach. ‘The roll out of the NBP by has been a disaster. They have repeatedly missed their own deadlines for delivery and kicked the can down the road in the run up to elections.’

He added: ‘This is having a detrimental impact on rural communities which rely on broadband for connectivity.’ The Louth TD said: ‘Successive ministers have failed to address broadband wastelands and continued to shift the goalposts on delivery. He added;: ‘These blackspots are costing jobs, threatening rural sustainability and creating a digital divide between urban and rural Ireland.

The neglect of rural Ireland cannot be allowed to continue and commitments must be made to ensure that all premises in rural areas are connected to essential broadband services as a matter of priority.’

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