One million ‘left without broadband’.

One million ‘left without broadband until at least 2020 as Government set to announce further delay to plan’

The Department for Communications says the plan will be delivered ‘as quickly as possible’

The Government is expected to announce a delay to the National Broadband plan that will leave a million people without access until at least 2020.

The plan has apparently been hit with yet another blow after reports that the 2019 connection date deadline may not now be met.

The new rural broadband connections will now not be in place until 2020 at the earliest, according to reports.

A spokesman for Mr Bruton told the Irish Independent: “The target deployment schedule will be published following the conclusion of the ongoing procurement process.

“The National Broadband Plan is a key priority for Minister Bruton and this Government.” Ireland lags behind 25 other European countries for average broadband speeds, survey reveals. The Government responded to the report by revealing that a new expected delivery date for the plan will be announced “as quickly as possible”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications said the target schedule will be published following the conclusion of the ongoing procurement process, RTE reports.

They said that the Government’s priority is to bring that process to a conclusion as quickly as possible. The final tender was received on September 18 from the one remaining bidder and is currently being evaluated. It has been a turbulent few months for the Government’s plan after it was hit by the dramatic resignation of Minister for Communications Denis Naughten earlier this month.

The resignation came after the shock revelation from the Taoiseach that Mr Naughten had met David McCourt for dinner in his home four times.

Mr McCourt is the preferred bidder and the last man standing in the running for the award of the €500million National Broadband Project. Minister Naughten said he was left in an impossible position. He felt that his situation was more about “opinion polls rather than telephone poles” and said he had given his resignation to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Denis Naughten will support government on ‘a case by case basis’ after dramatic resignation. The plan was also shaken at the start of the year after the news that Eir would be pulling out of the tendering process.

Eir blamed the decision to leave the National Broadband Plan (NBP) on “the significant commercial issues and complexity within the tender process, together with growing uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues that reside outside of the NBP process”.

The company’s board “decided that the risks are too great for its continued participation in the NBP”.

For more details on this interesting story, click here (credit: Irish Mirror).