Fine Gael TD for Carlow Kilkenny, John Paul Phelan, today (Thursday) said the Government’s National Broadband Plan is delivering, as demonstrated by announcements this week which will see broadband provided to at least 500,000 homes and businesses across the country. The increasing commercial competition for broadband customers in Ireland will be complemented by Government intervention where necessary.
“This week Eircom announced its intention to immediately commence the rollout of fibre-to-the-home services to 66 communities in 26 counties to begin in November. The ESB has also secured approval from the European Commission to proceed with a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone Ireland, delivering services to 50 towns in 26 counties, with rollout beginning in 2015.
“Commercial competition has seen telecommunications companies investing some €2.5 billion in the Irish telecommunications market.
“The National Broadband Plan aims to do two things – invest state money to accelerate fast broadband roll out in less densely populated areas and create the environment to encourage private industry to invest swiftly all over the country.
“In the coming weeks the Government intends to publish details of the areas of planned commercial investment by 2016 and the areas not covered, which will be the focus of the Government’s intervention.
“This will allow us to see where commercial intervention is planned and where the Government needs to intervene. Our plan to provide broadband to over 1,000 towns and villages in every county is underway. The Government’s commitment is to ensure a minimum of 30 megabits per second for every remaining home and business in the country – no matter how rural or remote.
“Fianna Fáil has questioned the difference between the National Broadband Plan, launched last April, and the announcements by commercial companies earlier this week. It is quite simple; these commercial investments are the plan in action. We act on our plans, unlike Fianna Fáil who have no plans to act on.”