Sinn Féin communications spokesperson David Cullinane today said that while rural broadband is a necessity, the government’s plan is not. There were other options on the table, but Fine Gael’s arrogance will end up costing the state billions.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“It is disappointing that Cabinet has signed off on a flawed and compromised broadband plan that is billions over budget.
“The government should not be proceeding with this particular option.
“It is one that has received almost universal criticism – from political parties, Oireachtas committees, senior civil servants, and the industry itself.
“Indeed, last month the Dáil voted to keep the network in public ownership.
“There is nobody except Fine Gael who thinks this plan is a good idea.
“It is regrettable that Minister Bruton has chosen to reject Sinn Féin’s call – echoed by the Communications Committee – for full public ownership of the finished network.
“It is also regrettable that the government has decided to reject all other options on the table, including the option of the ESB as the builder and supplier of the network itself.
“We need to see a National Broadband Plan rolled out, but not one that will leave the State carrying the risk and without owning the infrastructure at the end of the contract.
“The build and operate model, which the Department doggedly pursued despite its structural failures, which will end up costing the State for decades.
“We won’t even own it at the end – indeed, the network can be sold off after nine years.
“Once again, ideology and private interests have trumped the common good – the true legacy of eight years of Fine Gael government.”