Naughten handling of Broadband Plan incompetent

Seán Sherlock TD
31 January 2018

Labour TD for Cork East, Seán Sherlock has described the handling of the National Broadband Plan tendering process by Minister Naughten as incompetent, and that it leaves the Government with no competition on price, and will likely lead to further delays for those waiting for broadband.

Deputy Sherlock said:
“The news that Eir has withdrawn from the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan has plunged the process into crisis. Only one provider is now left in the tender process.

“The Minister in charge has managed to turn what had been a solid process into a mess, all in the space of less than two years. The move by the Minister in April 2017 to sign a deal with Eir to fast-track 300,000 homes that were originally to be part of the plan fatally undermined the process.

“Siro, a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone then withdrew from the tendering process in September 2017 stating there was no longer a business case for continued participation. This left only Eir and Enet in the process. It would now appear that Eir has pulled out having secured it’s dominant position.

“The Minister has facilitated a market grab by the largest player in the field, which already dominates provision. Through the delays in delivering the plan, Eir has been able to build an even more dominant position and undermine the prospect of a credible plan.

“The process over the last two years has driven credible providers from the market.

“Today’s news leaves 500,000 homes and businesses with no prospect of viable connectivity in the years to come. It will be 2023 before many see any connection, if at all, should the current process manage to falter on.”

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