Cobh homes need transparency on broadband plan – Sherlock

Filed under: Local News |

Cork East TD Seán Sherlock has called transparency in the broadband plan confusion that has emerged since Eir exited the bidding process for the national internet plan, in the interest of Cobh homes and businesses.

“How did it transpire that there were still red line issues at this stage of the process such that Eir, as one of the bidders, decided to pull out of the market?” asked Deputy Sherlock of Minister Denis Naughten this week during a debate on a Fianna Fail motion for an independent assessment of the bidding process.

“ What were those red line issues? Everyone here and outside these walls wants to know. If we had some articulation from the Minister or his officials as to what the red line issues were without invoking the cloak of commercial sensitivity, it would be very helpful for us to further understand the ongoing process. What is very confusing for me and thousands of others is that not too terribly long ago a deal, as I understand it, was done to facilitate Eir to provide for an extra 300,000 houses and premises. In the intervening period, approximately 100,000 of those have been covered.”

Deputy Sherlock questioned the deal done with Eir, given that they have now exited the broadband process.

“We all have scenarios in our constituencies of relevance to this issue. There is one pocket or enclave of 12 houses in my constituency, for example, where Eir came within 12 poles on either side before stopping the roll out. That is typical of west Cork and parts of Kilkenny. If one were to move around the Chamber, Members from every county would have an articulation of the very scenario I have just painted. The question now is whether the last bidder, in effect the winner given the scenario we are in, can come in and plug that gap. There is some scepticism out there, including on my part, given that it is reasonable to wonder what price it will take for the last bidder standing to come in and close the loop in those black spots if Eir could not do so within the current competitive architecture. Will that bidder in fact be able to name its price and hold the Government to ransom as a result?”

The Labour Party is supporting the Fianna Fáil motion, the vote on which takes place Thursday.