Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Darren O’Rourke TD, today said there is an urgent need to intensify the broadband rollout in Meath, following confirmation that no homes in the county have been connected to high-speed broadband almost two years into the National Broadband Plan.

O’Rourke was questioning officials from National Broadband Ireland, the consortium that won the controversial national broadband contract when they appeared in front of the Communications Committee in Leinster House this afternoon.

The Meath East TD  told Meath Live, “National Broadband Ireland, the company who won the controversial national broadband contract, appeared before the Oireachtas Communications Committee this afternoon.

“I took the opportunity to raise the deep frustration of people across County Meath about the poor broadband speeds they are facing.

“I was shocked to hear that not a single home in Meath has been passed, let alone connected, with high-speed broadband under the National Broadband Plan.

“This is disastrous progress almost two years into this national plan.

“Furthermore, figures I received from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications show 7 out of the 18 “Deployment Areas” in County Meath, are not scheduled for connection until the 2025-2026 period. This includes huge areas across the county.

“19,824 premises in the county are due to be connected under the plan. Of that, 9,373 (or 49%) won’t be connected until at least 2025 or 2026.

“That will come as a major disappointment to many households who are desperate to get connected to high-quality broadband. While Covid undoubtedly presented a challenge, this is a multi-billion euro contract and the broadband rollout was deemed ‘essential’ during the lockdown.

“There is a clear and urgent need to intensify the broadband rollout in Meath to address these delays.

“High-quality broadband is an absolute essential these days. The government must outline how they intend to expedite the rollout to ensure homes and businesses across Meath can get access to high-speed broadband as soon as possible.

“People can’t be expected to wait another five years for this essential service.”