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  • Northside East

Northside TD raises broadband concerns

Monday, 5th February, 2018 1:00pm
Northside TD raises broadband concerns
Northside TD raises broadband concerns

A LOCAL TD has expressed concern that “countless” households across north county Dublin could be left without access to high speed broadband. 

Last week Eir announced it was pulling out of the tender process for delivering the National Broadband Plan (NBP), leaving just one bidder remaining.  

Dublin Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien (FF) said it is a widely held belief that a lack of efficient broadband connection is an issue that only affects rural parts of Ireland.

“That is simply not the case,” argued Deputy O’Brien. 

“In reality, there are large swathes of broadband blackspots in Fingal some areas of which are adjacent to Dublin Airport, a major transport hub that serves millions of passengers each year.

“It’s quite shocking to consider that such a vast area which has a dynamic local economy from technology and finance to the agri-food sector, is left without a high speed broadband connection.”

Deputy O’Brien pointed out that Fingal is the fastest growing county in Ireland. 

“Many of those who have moved to the area would like the convenience of working from home but because of the shortage of broadband around their home they have no choice,” he said.  

“It appears as if the NBP is hanging by a thread and I am not at all confident that it can proceed with just one bidder.” 

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten said eir’s withdrawal from the tender process at this late stage was “regrettable”.

“Currently eir is rolling out high-speed broadband, predominantly fibre to the home (FTTH), to over 300,000 premises in rural Ireland,” said Minister Naughten. 

“This rollout is the subject of a binding agreement, whereby eir has committed to building high-speed broadband infrastructure to serve these 300,000 premises. 

“Eir has reconfirmed its commitment to this commercial investment as well as their ongoing investment in broadband nationally and I welcome this.

“The remaining bidder in the procurement process, the consortium comprising of Granahan McCourt, enet, SSE, John Laing Group plc, has reaffirmed its commitment to the successful conclusion of the NBP process.”

Minister Naughten said his department will continue to engage intensively with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the earliest possible achievement of the Government’s objective of providing reliable high quality, high speed broadband to all premises in Ireland.  

“When the procurement process reaches a satisfactory conclusion for Government, a contract will be awarded and the network rollout will commence,” he added. 

Meanwhile, local Senator James Reilly (FG) said Fine Gael remains committed to broadband roll out in Fingal and in particular rural parts of the county. 

Senator Reilly said they will continue to put pressure on the Department of Communications so that every local premises has access to high speed broadband.

“The National Broadband Plan (NBP) Procurement process is a key priority for Government,” he said. 

“While it is unfortunate that eir has pulled out of the process, our Government colleague Denis Naughten has assured us that it will not impact the rollout timeframe for Fingal

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here