Laois TD says ploughing on with 'botched' broadband plan is reckless

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Farm groups welcome roll out of broadband for rural Ireland

Laois Sinn Féin TD and future Laois-Offaly election candidate Brian Stanley said that “the decision by the Government to go ahead with the botched Broadband plan is reckless and leaves the State and taxpayer exposed to an unacceptable risk."

"The proposed plan may not also deliver badly needed broadband to all parts of the midlands," Stanley warned.

“The Government are to bury €3b of taxpayer money into the scheme despite the advice of senior officials in two Government departments that it’s a bad investment and that it may not provide broadband throughout rural Ireland. Despite the huge investment by the taxpayer the State will not own any part of it."

Deputy Stanley has called for a comprehensive and detailed analysis of an alternative model using State ownership of the National Broadband Plan.

Speaking in the Dáil, the Laois TD said: “As far back as 2012, Sinn Féin has been arguing that we proceed with a model of state ownership based on the ESB network."

“The Government have completely ignored this credible alternative, without providing any cost-benefit analysis of it and despite it having widespread support."

“The documents released this week by the Government outline just how flawed the procurement process has been from the beginning."

“We already possess broadband infrastructure and extensive cable network under public ownership which criss-crosses the State."

“The contract for the one selected by the Government is not to be signed for at least 6 or 7 months and we want this window to be used to complete a robust, detailed and comprehensive analysis of a State-led option involving the ESB, with infrastructure remaining in public ownership."

“We need senior officials from the relevant Departments to come before The Dáil committees so as this option can be examined and to have a fully informed debate on the matter."

“Rural Ireland cannot be left stranded, without any control over a valuable  asset in which the taxpayer is investing €3b, and left at the mercy of a private monopoly which may not even have the capacity to deliver what they are promising.”