Fine Gael Kildare South Martin Heydon TD has today (Thursday) given a cautious welcome to the confirmation by Eircom that they plan to significantly expand access to high speed fibre broadband in rural areas in Co. Kildare which are crying out for the service.

“This is the number one concern is many areas of rural South Kildare and one that I have raised with both Eircom and the Department of Energy, Communications and Natural Resources many times over the past four years. A survey I undertook last year highlighted that 92% of respondents in rural areas of Kildare South did not have a broadband service that was suitable for their needs. I welcome any initiatives that will see quality high speed broadband available to residents of these areas as soon as possible but these residents have seen many false dawns and now just need to see results.

“The areas confirmed by Eircom today of Calverstown, Narraghmore, Kilmeade, Brannockstown, Mageney, Blacktrench, Coolcarrigan and Cherryville all need high speed Broadband and need it quickly.  They are all areas that were highlighted in the Government National Broadband Plan which aims to provide quality high speed broadband in areas where commercial investment has not happened.

The announcement by Eircom today will take these areas out of the Government Broadband Plan as they will now be seen as being catered for by a commercial operator and so not in need of state investment.  I don’t mind who provides the services to these areas as long as it happens quickly.

“The Eircom solution will see fibre to fibre broadband from Eircom with potential speeds of up to 1gbps which is greater than anything available up to now but we need to ensure these communities don’t lose out and this service is provided quicker than the state intervention which is committed to at present.

“I am aware that people have been frustrated by the pace of roll out of high speed broadband around the Country.  As a Government TD I have been doing all in my power to accelerate that roll out and I will continue to that. Government intervention in this area has helped to improve the conditions for commercial investment and I welcome that partnership role.  I have spoken to both Eircom and the Ministers office today to seek assurances that the areas announced today get a quality service quicker than they would under the state scheme.