“The vote earlier this week at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment to recommend reopening the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan is ill-advised and ill-timed.
“The consequence of collapsing the process would delay the implementation of high-speed fibre broadband to Rural Ireland for another three to four years and costs would rise.
“The recommendation to bring the network back into public ownership also makes no sense when the infrastructure being used – the poles – are already in private ownership. This would also inevitably lead to additional costs.
“Previous Governments made decisions against public ownership and we have to work within those parameters.
“Anybody or any business that thinks it can deliver high-speed rural broadband quicker or cheaper than the current option had a clear opportunity to make that submission during the procurement process. None was forthcoming.
“There has been a complete lack of understanding of the very thorough procurement process which has been carried out over the last two to three years.
“The National Broadband Plan secures delivery and sustainability for a high-speed broadband network in Rural Ireland for the next 35 years.
“If we are serious about delivering equality of service around Ireland, this is the best option. We have already waited far too long. It is time to end the political rhetoric at Rural Ireland’s expense.”