Speaking today after the announcement of the National Broadband Plan in Dublin Sinn Féin election candidate for Milford electoral area, Maria Doherty said " I said before Easter that the Government had a number of questions to answer on the actual realities of rolling out this broadband plan. Everyone rightly agrees that for rural Ireland to thrive it needs high speed broadband. The plan announced today asks more questions than answers them. There is no date for roll out and after the state spending a fortune on it, it still will not own the network as it will be left in the hands of the consortium and when this happens it will be the consumer especially those in Rural Ireland that will be left to pick up the Bill. How much will this broadband cost to install for a householder and how much will cost for those in more isolated rural areas? This question must be answered as cost of living is already high and this might be another essential for living that rural Ireland has to pay a premium on.
Continuing Doherty said "the Government has never considered alternative methods with appropriate seriousness. They simply sought to plough on with their one privatised model, deaf to all concerns and suggestions. We in Sinn Féin have been advocating a network based on the existing ESB infrastructure that goes to every home in the country. We need Broadband in Rural Ireland but even spending this much does not guarantee that it will work. No answers are forthcoming on when it will be rolled out and where it is coming to? This whole process has been chaotic from the start, taken after a bad tendering process that ended with no competitive element, and will not give the state the value for money and high-quality network that rural Ireland deserves.”