Friday, 22nd July 2016
Good quality high speed broadband is the lifeblood of modern living,
whether it is business, education or leisure, local Minister for
Mental Health and Older People and Meath East T.D. Helen McEntee told
a recent Dáil debate on broadband.
“Certainly, in the past five to ten years, the way in which we conduct
our business, access public services, use mobile phones or even go
about our daily lives has been totally transformed by the Internet.
Understandably, the patience of many consumers, business owners and,
indeed, politicians, has been wearing thin. We have had many plans,
budgets and targets, but many people also have been left behind. There
is a need for change. I am confident that the partnership Government
is committed to that change” she told the Dáil.
Worked on this issue with companies
“As a Deputy for Meath East over the past three years, I have worked a
great deal on this issue. I have worked with affected communities as
well as the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and
Communications. In particular, I would mention Kentstown outside Navan
in Meath, where Eir activated its exchange for higher speed broadband
last year, with other companies coming behind it in providing the
service. I thank the companies publicly for that because I have seen
how a united approach among a community, public representatives and
providers can yield positive results. Obviously, not every case has
been that easy, and where commercial forces cannot or will not go, the
State must go” the Minister said.
Duty to those in rural areas
“We have a duty to citizens, where there is a pattern of rural living,
to intervene. This is why I welcome the renewed commitment by the Fine
Gael and Independent partnership to the national broadband plan. As
announced by the Minister, Deputy Denis Naughten, the plan has a
dedicated funding model, the commercial stimulus model, which is no
longer in direct competition with other priorities such as health and
education. That is what a 21st-century infrastructure model of
investment demands – a dedicated and consistent funding stream. I note
that some of the members of the Rural Alliance have already
acknowledged that it is a good model” the Minister told the Dáil.
Need to police broadband speed claims
“If customers have consistent issues with their broadband speeds,
especially compared to those of their neighbours or what companies say
they provide or are charging for, then we need clear protocols for
them to raise their complaints and have them addressed. I would
welcome the Minister’s views on this. Perhaps ComReg needs to expand
its role in that regard” concluded the Meath East T.D. and Minister.