Naughten - Broadband plan review would "plunge the entire project into uncertainty"

Fianna Fáil has insisted it will not withdraw its call for an independent review

Naughten - Broadband plan review would "plunge the entire project into uncertainty"

Denis Naughten. Image: RollingNews.ie

The government is rejecting a call for an independent review of the National Broadband Plan.

Fianna Fáil has tabled a Dáil motion calling for an independent review of the project, which has been left with just one bidder.

It follows the withdrawal of Eir from the process, leaving enet as the only bidder for the massive contract to deliver rural broadband.

Last year Siro - a joint venture launched by Vodafone and the ESB - also pulled out of the process.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten has claimed a review would delay the process by another six months and "plunge the whole project into uncertainty."

Fool me once

Fianna Fáil communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley has warned that although his party withdrew a previous motion on the matter, that will not happen a second time.

“Three companies with the experience and with the know-how having pulled away from process,” he said.

“Now minister, it is as simple as this – on that occasion, you fooled 542,000 homeowners; on this occasion I won’t let you fool them again.”

Uncertainty

Minister Naughten, however, insisted they have followed best practice - suggesting a review will only hold up the process.

He said any review now would be counter-productive:

“The fact is that the Fianna Fáil review would push this procurement process into 2019 and plunge the entire project into uncertainty,” he said.

“Deputy Dooley, by his own admission today, said his review has – and I quote- the potential to cause delays to the process.”

One horse race

Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly has called for an examination of the relationship between the Government and the final remaining bidder, enet.

He questioned the Government motives for opposing Fianna Fáil’s call for a “quick, independent review of what has happened to date” noting that the project has already been delayed for seven years.

Last week, Minister Naughten claimed Ireland is a 'global leader' when it comes to rolling out broadband, saying no other country in the world is trying to bring high-speed broadband to every single home and premises.