Fine Gael TD for Kildare South and Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Martin Heydon, has this week said that further delays in the National Broadband process, as suggested by the main opposition parties, will not benefit any Kildare residents who are still waiting for quality services. He was speaking as part of a Dail debate on the current status of the National Broadband Plan.
“We were all disappointed when Eir withdrew from the process last week, it was not what we wanted, it would be crazy to halt the entire process at this stage after so much work has gone into it and we still have one very genuine and capable bidder remaining. The process needs to be given some additional time to see if it can be brought to a successful conclusion.
“I told Minister Naugthen that his Department needed to work quickly now to see if they could reach an agreement with Enet within the cost parameters already agreed. This is not a blank cheque proposal and they need to be ready to withdraw and consider other alternatives if the costs exceed what has already been budgeted. However to halt the process now for many months to review and consider positions would just bring further delays to those residents already frustrated by the pace of progress.
“At a national level we now have over 70% national broadband coverage compared to just 50% when this Government came to power two years ago. The prospect of the state’s intervention in the plan drove private commercial operators to invest in many areas of the Country, including much of Kildare which has seen more premises covered month by month.
“Within County Kildare out of a total of 90,584 premises 80% are already in receipt of High Speed Broadband with another 5% awaiting commercial deployment and 15% awaiting state intervention.
“Those Kildare residents who are still waiting on high speed Broadband don’t want a lengthy review process that will leave them waiting even longer, as proposed by the opposition. We will continue to strive to see the national broadband plan connect every house in Kildare and around the country as soon as possible.