Portlaoise councillors recently revealed that broadband services were the one topic they were ‘getting it in the neck’ from by residents on doorsteps.
Since then, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that the plan would cost €3 billion – more than six times the original cost.
Broadband, or lack thereof, in rural areas has been brought up numerous times on doorsteps, according to the councillors.
Cllr John Joe Fennelly tabled a notice of motion at the Portlaoise Municipal District meeting on Wednesday asking for an update on broadband services in Portlaoise.
He called on the municipal district to write to Minister Flanagan to address the National Broadband Plan.
“You can’t even get a telephone reception on your mobile in Spink, it’s ridiculous,” said cllr John Joe Fennelly, who tabled the motion to address broadband services in villages.
“We are getting it in the face out there on every door in the rural areas. The problem is the national plan is not being provided.
“We need this. The amount of people that could be working from home instead of travelling to Dublin or different parts of the country is incredible. I can’t believe the response we are getting out there,” he added.
Cllr Mary Sweeney claimed that this ‘hot topic’ something councillors are not just getting it in the face but getting it, ‘in the neck in a big way.’
“It’s not just getting it in the face but we are getting it in the neck in a big way about it particularly if you are part of the government party at the moment. It’s so frustrating.
“It really is the hot topic in rural villages and rural towns because everybody has somebody in their family that doesn’t want to have to commute to Dublin,” she said.
“If all those lads in Dublin were out canvassing the rural roads they would know how desperate they are for broadband,” she said.
Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley added that it is frustrating for people when their house doesn’t have high speed broadband but their neighbours on the same road could have it.
“I think the most frustrating thing when you are talking to people the broadband has been brought up just down the road and you are there asking why didn’t they go the rest of the way with it doesn’t make sense,” said cllr Stanley
Senior Planner in Laois County Council, Angela McEvoy, gave a written response to cllr Fennelly’s motion.
“Laois Rural fibre network is continuing to be rolled out by Eir throughout Laois and is due to be completed this year. Laois will have over 6,000 rural premises connected under this project.
Within the Portlaoise MD, there are 599 premises connected in Abbeyleix, 248 in Ballinakill, 345 in Portlaoise and Shanahoe has yet to be completed.”
These are being facilitated by private providers.