FG broadband plan now 10 times more expensive per home than original plan

05 May 2019

Speaking about the National Broadband Plan Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin TD, said that Fine Gael’s reputation for responsibility with the national finances is on the line based on what they do next with rural broadband.

Brendan said:

“First the National Childrens’ hospital and then Paschal Donohoe calling on his ministerial colleagues to show restraint with their spending promises, and now a suggestion of spending €3 billion for a broadband network that the public won’t even own. Fine Gael is showing that it cannot be trusted, not to play politics with the public finances, as all its recent actions are focused on the next elections rather than the long-term public good.

“Labour is fully committed to delivering a national broadband network, and we brought forward detailed plans. Three years later the Fine Gael proposal is now ten times more expensive per home or business to be connected. How did the cost get so out of control? 927,000 premises were to cost €500m, now 542,000 is to to cost €3bn.

“The Government needs to provide a detailed report to the Dáil before finalising this deal to create a private monopoly that will control access to broadband for a third of our citizens. All relevant documents should be released for scrutiny by the Dáil and its communications committee.

“The Government should seek a costing from ESB and other public agencies, to see if they could deliver the project at a lower cost than what is being proposed, in a way that would ensure the State owns the asset and can recoup some cost over time. And this too should be presented to the Dáil before a final decision is taken, so that we can take the politics out of the plan and deliver the best value for public money for the creation of a public broadband network.

“After building the world’s most expensive hospital, is Fine Gael now offering to build the world’s most expensive rural broadband?”

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS

Labour initially proposed to bring broadband to 927,000 homes and businesses for €500 million. Eir took c. 300,000 homes from the national plan, leaving around 542,000 premises to be connected (allowing for new homes built since the original plan). At €3 billion for the Fine Gael proposal, the cost per unit is ten times higher.

€500 million divided by 927,000 = €539 per premises, and publicly owned

€3 billion divided by 542,000 = €5,535 per premises, and privately owned

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