Meeting sought over broadband

Representatives of National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company tasked with delivering a high-speed broadband network to millions of people across Ireland, will be asked to meet with Cavan County councillors in the New Year to address delays in the roll-out locally.

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is being delivered by NBI under a seven-year contract due to be complete by the end of 2026.

The NBI last presented to the council two years ago but, since then, Fianna Fáil’s Aiden Fitzpatrick said that many are facing delays to connection of several years yet.

Among those not yet connected, to his knowledge, were several national schools in Cllr Fitzpatrick’s local area - at Kill, in Dernakesh, and also in parts of Cootehill where the connection often dropped, resulting in lost business to those affected.

“It’s very hard to get answers,” lamented Cllr Fitzpatrick, where almost 17,000 premises have been passed and are available for connection in Cavan, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Monaghan, and over 10,000 more capable of pre-ordering connection in the coming months.

Party colleague John Paul Feeley seconded Cllr Fitzpatrick’s motion. He criticised the lengthy and controversial bidding process that eventually led to a contract being signed in 2019.

“People are highly dependent on it,” said Cllr Feeley on the need for connection. “We need to hear from them, and they need to hear from us, and what people in our communities feel,” he added.

Aontú’s Sarah O ‘Reilly hit out also at missed targets, which have been blamed on Covid. “Telecommunications were deemed an essential work - so that’s not an excuse.”

She informed the meeting that she was aware of one homeowner who had been given an estimated time of connection between January 2025 and December 2026. “That’s absolutely appalling,” said Cllr O’Reilly.

Cathaoirleach Clifford Kelly (FF) said he was aware of a family living almost equidistant between two connection boxes but, to date, had no clue as to when they might be connected.