National Broadband Plan hangs in the balance as Eir pulls the plug

Complicated Governmentt process has seen another bidder leave the process; Entire rollout could be under threat

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers says thousands of homes and businesses across Mayo could be left without access to high speed broadband as a result of the government’s mismanagement of the National Broadband Plan.

She made the comments following the news that Eir is the latest bidder to leave the tendering process.

Deputy Chambers commented, “The decision by Eir to withdraw from the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan speaks volumes about the government’s handling of the situation. The cracks began to emerge last year when SIRO decided not to proceed with a bid, and since then concern had been raised about the complicated nature of the process. Today’s announcement leaves eNet as the sole bidder.

“This government has allowed the National Broadband Plan to flounder for the last number of years, shifting targets and deadlines at every juncture. Only last month it was confirmed that it could be another 5 years before all homes and businesses in rural areas in Mayo would be connected. Today’s news could further jeopardise that.

“Minister Naughten has serious questions to answer. He has failed to prioritise the roll out of high speed broadband to rural areas and now it appears as if the NBP is hanging by a thread. I am not at all confident that it can proceed with just one bidder.

“Broadband is one of the biggest issues in rural Ireland and now we are facing the possibility of further delays in its rollout. The government deserves a gold star for incompetence for its mishandling of the National Broadband Plan, and the impact of this will be felt in rural parts of Mayo for years to come”.