Thomas Pringle TD

Eir’s rural broadband scheme competing against Government’s own Strategy – says Pringle

Broadband Document pic

The concern was raised in light of Eir’s recent announcement that 14,000 residents will see broadband rolled out across Donegal by the end of this year. This is part of an additional 300,000 homes nationwide which Eir aims to connect, however, these homes have already been earmarked for the rural broadband scheme established by the outgoing Government.
Recently re-elected Independent TD Thomas Pringle explains that “Eir is now in direct competition with the Government’s own Rural Broadband strategy which can only work in areas that are deemed commercially unviable. EU state rules forbid any intervention by a Government to an area if a private operator is there already.”
He continues, “if the Government is in breach of funding rules this could put funding in jeopardy for intervention in areas deemed definitively unviable such as isolated island communities and remote areas. If private operators encroach on rural areas the Government has already promised to connect what will this mean for places like Arainn Mhór and Tory Islands?’
“It may seem like welcome news that 24 communities in Donegal such as Donegal Town, Fintown, Killybegs, Ballybofey, Lifford and Ardara will be connected under Eir’s plan but we should be asking the question why a private company is so eager to provide broadband to rural areas all of a sudden,” asks Pringle.
“The Government strategy was established in the first place because companies deemed certain areas commercially unviable. I suspect this is an attempt by private companies to corner their share of the market and that they may be aware they are dealing with potentially inferior technology compared to fibre wrapped broadband. At the end of the day Donegal must not lose out because of private company dominance,” concludes Pringle.
“My broadband policy document maintains that’s why we need broadband roll out prioritised to rural areas first so they are not at risk of losing out due to unforeseen events and to enable communities to compete on an even playing field meanwhile urban areas become better connected” continues Pringle.

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