Current plans will see two sets of poles used to deliver services to homes when one will do. The Green Party are calling on the government to revisit the NBP and promote the use of ESB poles to lower the project costs.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD said today:
“The delivery of high speed broadband to every house in the country is of vital national interest. The National Broadband Scheme has been badly managed but it cannot be abandoned at this stage.
“The Government got it wrong by taking seven years in the design stage and they made a major mistake when they allowed Eir cherry-pick 300,000 homes from the original target area, which lead to the exit of ESB and Vodafone from the bidding process.
“We had an opportunity to consolidate our telecommunications and electricity systems by wrapping the fibre optic cables around the ESB wires. There was a potential long term saving by having one rather than two sets of poles leading to every house in the country.
“This pre-election launch of the scheme is being done months before any contract is due to be signed. We should use the intervening period to set up the necessary regulatory structures so that National Broadband Ireland can still use those ESB poles to reach some houses. That would be one way of keeping competitive tension in a project where a US private equity firm and Eir are effectively being given a monopoly position for the next 35 years.
“We are not saying stop the project but in the public interest we still amend it to make sure we get as much value for money as is possible while at the same time providing for the needs of rural Ireland.”
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