National Broadband Plan needs a 'plan B' says Laois Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley
Questions still remain around the viability of the National Broadband Plan says Laois Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson for Communications, Deputy Stanley said the Government should have a Plan B for the broadband procurement process.
“We cannot forget 542,000 households and businesses, over 1 million people, across the State are waiting 6 years for high-speed broadband. Government commitment to these people to connect them by 2020 is dead. These people need what is a basic service and as quick as possible," he said.
He said that the Government has become trapped between two big businesses.
“What is very clear from the report last week and number of meetings, is the informality and the close relationship Government has to big business. What is also clear from the meetings is that they came from panic. Government has tied itself to a single venture capitalists bidder, and utterly trapped between two private companies. The only bidder on one side, and Eir on the other side owning all the infrastructure," he said.
“The whole process has had many flaws. All major telecoms companies have left this procurement. Government hived off 300,000 of the most commercial households from the NBP and handed them to Eir. This was detrimental to the Plan.
“Government are in this situation because they are wedded to the privatised models, as Fianna Fáil was before them. There is a growing belief that Public Private Partnership does not deliver value for money. If this procurement process fails, does this Government has a Plan B," Dep Stanley said.
There are 12,674 rural homes and businesses in Laois waiting to connect to broadband under the National Broadband Plan.