Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (434)

Willie Penrose


434. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he has had discussions with the Department of Finance regarding the national broadband plan; if the anticipated cost will lead to a reduction of funding for other rural programmes such as the community enhancement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22811/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government recently announced its intention to award the contract for the roll out of high-speed broadband in the State Intervention Area to a preferred bidder following a detailed tendering process. The question of securing funding for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a matter for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

I do not anticipate that investment in the NBP will result in a reduction in funding for other rural programmes. In fact, the roll out of high speed broadband will complement the commitment in the National Development Plan to invest €1 billion over the next ten years through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Funding for rural programmes in my Department’s Vote this year amounts to €138.371 million. This compares to a provision of €93.384 million for rural programmes in 2018.

The 48% increase year-on-year in my Department’s Vote shows the Government's clear commitment to supporting rural communities. This commitment is further enhanced by the recent announcement regarding the NBP.