Deputy Joe McHugh has called on the Government to ensure that it fully commits to a broadband network which will attract and sustain businesses across Donegal.
The Fine Gael Deputy was speaking as the ESB and Vodafone announced a €450M fibre broadband network for across the country.
But the Carrigart-based politician said there is an urgent need to prioritise an efficient broadband structure for businesses looking to set up here in Donegal.
“There is an urgent need to prioritise broadband in the North West region. In order to build on existing success of companies in Letterkenny, companies like United Health Care, Pramerica, Zeus and SITA, a high quality standard of broadband access is essential.
“Letterkenny has been identified as one of three towns by the IDA for political investment and we need to respond to this proactively by ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support these opportunities,” he said.
He said he was also delighted to confirm that the European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology (ERNACT), will be presenting to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement tomorrow on a cross border project to enhance communications technology in the Northwest.
The organisation works to develop a range of digital projects with the help of EU funding.
But Deputy McHugh added that a state-of-the art broadband system was needed for Donegal if businesses and subsequent jobs are to be attracted into the county.
“I am calling on both the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, to engage with local business, communities and existing facilities to ensure any potential job opportunities are identified and pursued, while ensuring that the areas with inconsistent coverage or worst affected by slow broadband are included in the plans
“The ability to encourage businesses to set up in rural towns and villages is heavily dependent on access to fast, high quality broadband and once this is in place, it will have a knock on effect on local communities, attracting young families from traditional urban cities and towns and leading to positive developments such as increases in school numbers, post offices, local services etc.
“It is also important to highlight that this is only phase 1 of the project and while I welcome that Letterkenny is included in the 50 towns, there are obviously areas across the North West that currently receive poor quality, inconsistent and in some places no coverage at all and it is imperative that we address all areas to ensure that access to broadband is rolled out across the whole country.”