May 18, 2021

‘Flawed’ broadband plan will cost the State ‘billions’ – Waterford TD

The Government National Broadband Plan is ‘flawed’ and ‘compromised’ and will end up costing the State billions, a Waterford TD has claimed.

Deputy David Cullinane, who is also Sinn Féin’s communications spokesperson, agrees rural broadband is “a necessity”, but is heavilty critical of the Government’s plan to deliver high-speed internet connectivity to every corner or rural Ireland.

The Waterford TD said: “It is disappointing that Cabinet has signed off on a flawed and compromised broadband plan that is billions over budget.

“The Government should not be proceeding with this particular option. It is one that has received almost universal criticism – from political parties, Oireachtas committees, senior civil servants,  and the industry itself.

“Indeed, last month the Dáil voted to keep the network in public ownership. There is nobody except Fine Gael who thinks this plan is a good idea.”

Deputy Cullinane (pictured below) repeated his party’s calls for the finished broadband network to be fully State-owned.

And he added: “It is also regrettable that the Government has decided to reject all other options on the table, including the option of the ESB as the builder and supplier of the network itself.

“We need to see a National Broadband Plan rolled out, but not one that will leave the State carrying the risk and without owning the infrastructure at the end of the contract. The build and operate model, which the Department doggedly pursued despite its structural failures, which will end up costing the State for decades.

“We won’t even own it at the end – indeed, the network can be sold off after nine years. Once again, ideology and private interests have trumped the common good.”

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