Deputy McConalogue said the Minister is completely underestimating the importance of broadband for counties like Donegal.
“It is very disappointing that Minister Pat Rabbitte is not willing to extend the deadline for the Rural Broadband Scheme. I believe he is underestimating the importance of broadband services to those living in rural areas.
“The Rural Broadband Scheme was poorly advertised and as a result, many people living in rural communities had no idea if they were entitled to apply or when the deadline was.
“I outlined these concerns in full to Minister Rabbitte. I suggested that the Minister extend the scheme to facilitate further applications while continuing to process existing applications.
“However when I put this solution to the Minister, he refused to make any move to extend the deadline,” he revealed.
The Inishowen TD said he was now asking the Minister to outline how the scheme will work in practice and to confirm that there will be a minimum standard of broadband speed for all users of the scheme.
“I believe that there will still be several households that remain without access to broadband after the scheme is implemented. In this event, I am asking Minister Rabbitte to clarify what measures he will be put in place to address this problem.
“In order to achieve true nationwide broadband, we should have an ongoing broadband scheme that people can continue to apply for. In a digital age, it is important that all households regardless of their location have access to reliable broadband services.”