Minister indicates further delays to State's broadband scheme

The roll-out of high speed broadband across the country could be facing further delays.

Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten, has indicated that there will be further delays to the National Broadband Plan (NBP) by at least a year.

The plan was first promised five years ago.

In the Dáil last week, Mr Naughten signalled he did not expect the first homes to be connected to the State-subsidised scheme until after Eir which is the State's largest telco, had finished a different project which aimed to connect 300,000 rural homes on a commercial basis.

These homes had originally been designated for the Government's scheme but were removed following a controversial agreement between the Communications Department and Eir earlier this year.

Fianna Fail's communications spokesman Timmy Dooley has described the delay as a scandal and said he wants more clarity on when the project will begin.

"The Minister and the Government and the Department need to issue a tender for the work to provide high speed broadband to 542,000 homes throughout rural Ireland which are not covered by any company that can get to them commercially and make a returm from it.

"It needs State support and that contract needs to be put in the market place," he said.

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