Comment from the CWU on eir’s withdrawal from the National Broadband Plan

01 Feb 2018

Thursday, 1 February, 2018 – Commenting on eir’s decision to withdraw from the National Broadband Plan, General Secretary of the Communications’ Workers Union, Steve Fitzpatrick, said:

“It is disappointing that eir has decided to withdraw from the National Broadband Plan. The company has been a leader in the drive to connect rural Ireland with a modern, fast broadband network. It is heartening that they have reaffirmed their commitment to complete the rollout of its high speed network to 300,000 rural homes and premises and that they will continue to be involved in providing the network underpinning the services of the eventual providers under the National Broadband Plan.

However, it should be no surprise to anyone that there have been negative, long term consequences from the decision to sell off the national communications network, currently controlled by eir, to private interests. The company has been the victim of repeated capital and asset stripping by a succession of short term owners which left the country with a very weak and under-invested communications infrastructure. It is only in recent years that the company has been allowed rebuild its networks and provide the services that customers and the country demands.”

Mr. Fitzpatrick said: “There is a striking comparison between eir and the electricity transmission and distributions system where networks have been kept within State ownership through the ESB. This has not prevented competition in electricity supplies or customer choice. This should have been the model adopted in protecting the national communications network.”

“It is now critical that the National Broadband Plan starts as quickly as possible, with the continued involvement of eir at a networks and wholesale level. Households and businesses in rural areas are right to demand and are entitled to an equivalent level of quality services to those available in cities and towns,”
he concluded.


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