Rural Affairs Minister’s new broadband remit still to be finalised

Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys’ specific role in the delivery of the State’s €275m National Broadband Plan is yet to be determined.

Rural Affairs Minister’s new broadband remit still to be finalised

The minister’s involvement will be determined as part of ongoing moves to reconfigure her newly enlarged department which now includes the provision of rural broadband to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

A spokesperson for the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts, and the Gaeltacht said the parameters of the role of Ms Humphreys’ would be set out as part of the reconfiguration of her department.

Staffing decisions, which may see civil servants from the Department of Communications who have been working to deliver the National Broadband Plan for a number of years move to her department, are also yet to be finalised.

“As announced by the Taoiseach in Dáil Éireann, responsibility for the rollout of rural broadband is to be assigned to a reconfigured Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts, and the Gaeltacht, with Heather Humphreys as its minister,” a spokesperson said/

“Arrangements for the reconfiguration of the department are currently being advanced with Department of Communications and the Department of the Environment.”

Progress on the delivery of the plan has been stymied in recent weeks after it was announced that the contract would not be awarded to the successful bidder(s) this year, as initially intended.

Instead, 750,000 premises will have to wait another six months before high-speed broadband is introduced.

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