A recycled Minister

IrelandOffline, a leading consumer advocacy group for telecommunications, have to question the commitment of our new Minister to his brief in telecommunications. We looked forward to a notably intelligent Minister engaging with and changing the  “do nothing” culture that has ruined  his Department and his Country, however we just see a continuation of the old tired nonsense coming out of his Department. Recycling may be good but the continual recycling of tired old excuses is wearing very thin after 6 months..

Eamonn Wallace,chairman of IrelandOffline, stated “Thus far the new Minister has been parroting word for word the same old excuses that his predecessor Eamon Ryan used to use to justify doing nothing in particular except of course to make vacuous speeches on finance issues.
First we had the exact same answers to questions as Ryan used to use and now the same old excuse that mobile midband is delivering broadband to rural areas and somehow this meets the requirements of the Digital Agenda for Europe, obviously this is patent nonsense. The Digital Agenda for Europe is about providing 100% coverage of 30mbits for all by 2020, something that is technically impossible on 2x5mhz slices of mobile spectrum.

Minster Rabbitte loves to say and does so at every opportunity:
“In cases of market failure the Government will intervene, where it is appropriate and possible to do so. The National Broadband Scheme (NBS) represents such an intervention. Broadband services are now available throughout the entire NBS area.”

Then the same old nonsense of Ireland having a “fully liberalised” market when there is only one supplier of telecommunications in the vast bulk of the country”

The provision of the “last mile” is an urgent issue and successive Ministers have ignored the issue for many years, the only Minister to achieve anything in this area was Dermot Ahern in his time in the Department of Communication but that was a long time ago now. Since then nothing has happened except for more platitudes and excuses.The only solution to our problem is proper fixed broadband in areas not currently served.

Wallace continued “Thus far the Minister has said absolutely nothing new, has not done anything of value for hapless Irish consumers. We have the highest telecommunications costs in Europe and all we hear is that “everything is fine” and we are doing just great so nothing will be done. This is most unsatisfactory. Minister Rabbitte has gathered the CEOs of the larger telcos and ISPs into a Task Force of some sort and  they have met periodically since his ministry started. The Minister has eschewed informing any of his parliamentary colleagues of any of the deliberations of this particular group save to say that they are finalising something shortly.”

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