There are fears that the Government’s decision not to renew the National Broadband Scheme will lead to soaring costs for Kilkenny’s rural broadband users.
The scheme was originally established to provide a service to rural broadband ‘blackspots’, where phone lines could not deliver broadband. Experts have suggested that bills could increase by up to €180 per year in the wake of the decision not to renew funding – bills which many homes may not be able to afford.
Local Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness says the decision demonstrates the Government’s complete lack of interest in rural Ireland. He says that small and medium businesses here will be at a serious competitive disadvantage compared to companies in the major cities, if broadband services aren’t up to speed.
“The withdrawal of funding for the National Broadband Scheme by the Government is short-sighted and ill-advised and will have serious consequences for households and businesses throughout Kilkenny,” he said.
“Broadband coverage across the county is of poor quality in many areas, and the removal of this essential service will only serve to make a bad situation worse.
“The National Broadband Scheme, which was introduced by the previous Government, provided basic affordable broadband services in rural areas where coverage was poor. The decision to withdraw the funding could result in a 75% price hike for customers.”