Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East and Midlands-North-West European Parliament candidate Anne Rabbitte has warned that the ongoing delay with the rollout of the National Broadband Plan is causing businesses to consider their employment options.
Deputy Rabbitte commented:
It’s clear from speaking to business owners across Galway that they find it difficult to make any concrete plans for expansion and strategic planning when there is no clarity around what connectivity they will have. An increasing number of SMEs, particularly start-ups, need a reliable broadband infrastructure in place and it just isn’t there in many parts of Galway. There are around 64 blackspots in the county and it is clear that this is restricting business as many do not believe that the rollout will begin anytime soon.
She went on to say:
Start-ups too are looking at their options and while they may want to set up in one location, providing employment to the locality, they soon find the broadband is inadequate and move elsewhere. This is going to become more prevalent if something is not done soon. We need to consider all avenues here and leave no stone unturned. There are strategic funding options available from the EU that we could invest in the critical infrastructure needed, so that people have the digital access they need to live and work where they choose. The whole fiasco has been dragging on for years at this point with no end line in sight. People are really fed up at this stage and it is clear that the government once again shows its disdain for the people of rural Ireland and the west. The government have signalled it will sign off on the already delayed plan the cost of which has jumped from €500 million to €3 billion in cost to the taxpayers.
Deputy Rabbitte concluded:
We may be living in rural Ireland and the west, but this is not the wild west. It is a vibrant, modern, community of people who need a modern digital framework and service in order to live, work and connect with each other and the rest of the world.