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West Waterford councillor expresses concerns over roll-out of fibre broadband

A West Waterford councillor has voiced concerns with the roll-out of fibre broadband across rural areas.

Fianna Fail's Tom Cronin was speaking as the local authority unveiled their digital strategy at the June Plenary meeting of the local authority.

He highlighted that many stand-alone homes remain unconnected in his local areas of Ardmore and Clashmore.

Councillor Cronin believes we'll be talking about the same issues down the line:

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"I don't know what the quick or simple answer to it is," he said, "but I feel myself that we'll be talking about this in five years time. That there will still be houses in rural Ireland that won't have broadband.

"And that's the pitiful end of it."

Missed National Broadband targets

His comments come as it has now been revealed that the National Broadband Plan has missed its revised target by up to five months.

A former communications minister says the project may not be finished until the end of 2027 - a year later than planned.

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National Broadband Ireland will tell an Oireachtas committee today it has employed 300 extra staff this year.

However, Independent TD, Denis Naughten, says the project is still delayed:

"National Broadband Ireland gave a commitment last September that they would pass 60,000 homes by the end of January last year.

"They've just now passed 63,600 homes by the end of June of this year. So, those targets have slipped again."

The cost of the roll-out is also still being questioned.

Councillor Cronin says the reason it's costing so much and taking so long is because the installers are going back to homes that should have been set up beforehand.

He's been particularly critical of the speed of the fibre broadband roll-out in County Waterford:

"The problem I would have with the strategy so far is that they kind of picked houses that were simple to connect Broadband too.

"I know roads where a number of houses would be connected to the fibre broadband but maybe the last house on that road is not connected.

"If you ask the question, 'why didn't they connect the last house?', there's no answer."

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