Councillors criticise broadband rollout
Councillors have made known their displeasure at what they’ve described as “slow progress” with the rollout of the National Broadband Plan in Cavan.
The January meeting of the local authority heard a presentation from Head of Strategic Communications with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) Niall Beirne, following requests for updates on the project locally.
He said, while there had been some delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rollout locally is progressing mostly to plan with 16,159 premises in the county to be connected.
So far, just 3,600 in the Cavan Town area have been connected, with progress on other areas expected this year.
Areas to be surveyed
Surveys are underway in other parts, with progress being made in the Kilnaleck area and parts of Cavan served by the exchange in Clones.
However, surveys are yet to take place in the rest of the county. Cootehill, Bailieborough, Bawnboy and areas close to Lismacaffrey, Aughnacliffe and Carnaross are expected to be surveyed at some point this year.
However, Mr Beirne said this was “representative of every county” and work is taking place across the country at the same pace but admitted the company had missed its targets for last year by 20,000.
Councillors were highly critical of what they perceived as slow progress, with Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) saying NBI should be “ashamed” and the “government needs to look at this again”.
Independent Brendan Fay said “older people in particular are devastated” as they have invested in laptops and tablets during the pandemic but now cannot utilise them properly due to lack of adequate broadband.
“The whole thing was farcical from the beginning,” he said.
Fianna Fáil’s Aiden Fitzpatrick praised the Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) put in place last year:
“The hubs are fantastic. I normally go down for online meetings but it’s now when we need it.”
Cllr Paddy McDonald (SF) said NBI should work with ESB Networks to use its existing infrastructure. However, Mr Beirne said this requires specialist work and is only done on a case by case basis.
2027 before finish
€64million is to be spent in Cavan as part of the €2.9 billion national project. It will be 2027 before all premises in Cavan are connected.