Home > Private Members (D) > Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business...

Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Fianna Fáil)
Tuesday 6 February 2018

“That Dáil Eireann:

recognises that:

—  542,000 homes, schools and businesses, representing 40 per cent of our population and 96 per cent of our geographic cover, have no access to broadband, with no possibility of connection on the horizon;

—  the ability of rural enterprises and farms to remain competitive and to carry out their administrative and commercial functions is being seriously harmed by the unavailability of broadband to them;

—  the National Competitiveness Council of Ireland has stated that regional job growth is being stymied by the lack of connectivity in rural areas;

—  children and young people in rural Ireland are being denied the same educational opportunities as their urban peers, owing to the lack of broadband in their homes and schools; and

—  there is now effectively a two-tier internet landscape in Ireland, where rural areas rank among the worst-served areas in all of Europe;

notes that:

—  in 2011, the previous Fine Gael-led Government first committed to the roll-out of high-speed broadband to every home and premises in Ireland by 2016;

—  the ongoing tendering process for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) first commenced in 2015;

—  the decision by SIRO to withdraw from the NBP in September 2017, owing to the overly onerous and complex bidding structure, highlighted wider deficits within the implementation of the NBP; and

—  the recent decision by eir to withdraw from the NBP bidding process, leaving only one bidder remaining, has seriously compromised the tendering process and raises doubts over whether the NBP, as currently designed, can ever be implemented; and

calls on the Government to:

—  guarantee that high-speed broadband is delivered to every Irish home and business in a prompt manner, even if this requires greater or full State intervention; and

—  conduct a full independent expert review of the tendering process, to be concluded within two months, that will provide a full examination of the following aspects of the NBP:

—  the design and implementation of the tendering process, and the degree to which the tendering process is inhibiting participation by suitable bidders;

—  whether the existent NBP is future-proofed to meet Ireland’s future societal and economic needs;

— the impacts of key decisions made during the tendering process on the overall viability and delivery of the NBP, including, the decision by the Government to sign a commitment agreement with eir to serve 300,000 homes that had previously been within the State intervention area, the decision by SIRO to withdraw from the bidding process, and the subsequent decision by eir to also withdraw; and

— the case for State ownership of the infrastructure.” — Timmy Dooley, Bobby Aylward, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa M. Chambers, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Stephen S. Donnelly, Sean Fleming, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Seán Haughey, Billy Kelleher, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Micheál Martin, Charlie McConalogue, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Eugene Murphy, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O'Dea, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Robert Troy.

[2 February, 2018]