In a week when Communications Minister, Eamon Ryan announced the establishment of a group of international experts to consider his Department’s draft policy paper on the Government’s role in facilitating the roll out of high speed networks, the Government has yet again indulged in a game of empty words. The Minister stated that 85 per cent of the population have access to broadband, and that there were 793,000 subscribers last year. From the slew of letter and emails I have received from dissatisfied people awaiting broadband in their urban areas, I highly doubt this.
At this juncture it is ridiculous to think that another glorified talking shop is needed in the provision of what has become a basic necessity. It denotes a typical lack of urgency from the Government in dealing with this matter. One can only wonder how many more reports; papers and opinions will be needed before this Government accords this issue the priority it requires. I have heard stories from up and down the country of people unable to access broadband simply because they had the bad luck to buy or build a house on the wrong side of the road!
I’m embarrassed at the total lack of urgency, the lack of vision (though it doesn’t require much) on the part of the Government. So many people live in poorly served areas. I want broadband to be easily available, affordable and for there to be active competition to offer these communities choice.
I realise there is an infrastructural deficit but do not accept that this deficit crept up on us, rather there has been systematic failures all along the way. Privatisation and plundering of Eircom by asset-strippers, convienent deferral to the market to sort it out, there isn’t even the excuse of rotation of parties of government.
The Government is unwilling to consider my Broadband Bill but I will continue to push it forward and rectify the dire need for fast, reliable, reasonably priced, internet access in