HAVING been promised the bee’s knees in terms of high-speed broadband, yesterday’s confirmation of a further two-year delay in rolling out this vital service has dealt a hammer blow to rural communities.
Inescapably, this latest delay in implementing the much vaunted National Broadband Plan will not only put existing jobs at risk, it will deter other businesses from setting up new ventures and condemn thousands of people to what might be described as the “dark ages” of 21st-century Ireland.
Striking a death knell for communities up and down the country, putting the brakes on such an important project is the last thing the Department of Communications should be doing. Under the €275m scheme, originally set to start this year, the aim was to bring broadband to 750,000 homes and businesses by 2020 with 85% of those premises getting it by 2018, and eventually covering the entire country by 2020. Now, however, it will not start as planned this year as the contract will not be awarded until 2017.
People have every right to be angry at what amounts to what they will see as yet another empty promise which means the high speed broadband plan will probably not be completed until 2022 — a full decade after it was first announced. A department statement that the broadband network “remains a priority” and that it is seeking “the fastest possible deployment” is hardly reassuring.
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