Pat The Cope Gallagher has said that proposals for rural broadband are ‘in tatters’ after Eir’s withdrawal from the process.
Deputy Gallagher believes the writing was on the wall for the National Broadband Plan after SIRO pulled out of the tendering process.
Now, with Eir gone, eNet are left as the sole bidder.
“We have already witnessed deadlines being moved further out and delayed but today’s announcement puts the entire broadband strategy in a tail spin,” Deputy Gallagher said.
“Some people believe that the Government has complicated the process so much that it has become next to impossible for potential bidders to respond in a commercially viable way.
“What is worse the Government have allowed the companies to cherry pick the easy broadband connections countrywide leaving the more difficult areas to connect last but, now with the Government depending solely on one bidder they find themselves in a position of considerable weakness.
“The real question, which must be asked is, how committed were the Government about rolling out broadband to rural communities?
“The record shows nothing only broken promises and ever moving deadlines. This represents an unmitigated failure on the part of government, and leaves over 540,000 households in serious limbo.
“I do not believe that the current tender process can continue with just one bidder involved. Minister Naughten has presided 20 months of failure in terms of the National Broadband Plan since he became Minister.
“Tonight there’s hundreds of thousands of families, farmers and businesses wondering if they will ever get the broadband they need.
“The Government should collectively hang their heads in shame over the shambles that the National Broadband Plan has become. Promised in 2011 for delivery in 2016, delayed until 2023, and now in doubt – the NBP is one of the greatest government failures in living memory.”