THE roll-out of rural broadband has been a “PR stunt” to date, according to Fianna Fáil Councillor Bob Ryan.
Speaking at a meeting of Cork County Council, Mr Ryan said that broadband providers were only doing the bare minimum and that this was being sold as progress by the Government.
“They are running fibre-optic infrastructure up rural roads so far — maybe two or three hundred metres off the main highways, and going no further.”
“It appears to me very clearly that it is a PR stunt. I’m sure there will be reports from the relevant departments dealing with broadband rollout, and they will be coming out saying they have reached so many thousands of homes in rural Ireland, but it is nothing more than a scam.”
“They are going two or three hundred metres up the road and stopping, and the people living further up the road have no chance of getting rural broadband for a long, long time. The way they are approaching it is unfair, and it is very, very much unworkable,” he said.
Independent councillor John Paul O’Shea said that he had seen similar examples in the north Cork area.
“Eir and a number of other private organisations are investing in broadband, but the fact of the matter is, Cllr Ryan is right. One area in Bweeng, they are going so far up a road, just after one house, but there are five houses further up the road that would be viable for them, but they decide to stop wherever they like.”
“It will be like this until post-2020 when the national broadband plan comes along and subsidises Eir, or whatever organisation might win the contract to do it. This county can’t wait three years for broadband services,” he said.
Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O’Flynn said that the issue was like a “sore boil” that wouldn’t go away.
“I would love to know how many reports we have got over the years. To me, it looks very aspirational. They are going to do this, they are going to do that.
“At the end of the day, we in rural Ireland have not got a proper broadband service. Where is the money for this? Where is the rollout?” he said.
The issues was raised in the Dáil several times during 2016 when rural TDs also blasted the slow progress.