A Laois TD says he is ‘gravely concerned about the pace of progress with the National Broadband Plan’.
Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley was speaking after he received an update on progress from Minister for Communication Eamon Ryan.
According to Deputy Stanley, there has been no connections to date in Laois or Offaly in the so called ‘intervention area’.
The intervention areas are those parts of the country that are not serviced already by another broadband provider.
Deputy Stanley said: “The most recent update I have received from the Minister shows only 3,900 homes or premises have been connected in first 22 months of the NBP rollout.
“These are in another 11 counties.
“Under this plan, which was to be completed in 2026, 115,000 homes and businesses were to be passed (broadband fibre cable passing the premises) by the end of this year.
“This plan is way behind schedule and the current situation is that there is only 27,000 passed.
“With the project way behind schedule, earlier in the year the Government agreed a remedial plan with NBP for to reduce the number of houses and businesses passed by year end to 60,000.
“However, less than half of that has now been achieved. The explanation that has been given for this is the Covid restrictions at the start of the year, however telecommunication works were exempt from these restrictions and were allowed to continue.
“According to the NBP website, parts of Laois and Offaly will not even be surveyed for connection until the end of 2026.
“This includes an area around Mountrath and parts of South Offaly near Birr. 12,562 homes and businesses are in the intervention area in Laois with 12,216 in Offaly.
“I am gravely concerned with the pace of progress of this plan. I am also concerned about the financing of the plan which will have a total cost of between €2.7 Billion and €2.8 Billion, with the taxpayer stumping up €2.5Billion of this.
“As Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, I have requested that both NBI and the Department of Communication come before us early this year so that we can examine progress with this plan and expenditure of it.”
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