The news that Eir (formerly Eircom) are likely to lodge a High Court challenge (against Com Reg) into it’s legal requirement to provide a telephone service in rural areas should set off alarm bells for those expecting broadband services to be rolled out in all areas over the next number of years.
Eir are planning to challenge the ruling that they must provide a phone service to all rural areas on the basis that it is not viable for them to do so in some areas. This is what happens when basic infrastructure falls into private hands and it is why I fought so hard to ensure that the roll out of broadband services remained in public hands. The fear is that these private companies will not provide any services to remote rural areas because it is not viable to do so. The same situation applies with regard to the mobile phone signal where in some rural areas it is almost non-existent and nothing is being done to improve it”
My constituency colleague Dennis Naughten is the Minister with responsibility in this area and I am calling on him to act on these very important matters. If Eir do take their case to the High Court and are successful then other companies will be able to do the same whether it’s in connection with a land line phone service, mobile phone signal or broadband and opt out of providing a proper service in some rural areas. That situation would be totally unacceptable.