“Shock” announcement from Eir

“Shock” announcement from Eir

In a thoroughly anticipated “shock” announcement, eir the state’s largest telecoms provider, today (31st January 2018) announced their withdrawal from the government sponsored National Broadband Plan citing regulatory, governance and commercial issues. To watchers and analysts of the plan it has been clear for many months that the plan was in serious trouble. Today the funeral of the plan was announced.

Once SIRO, the other serious bidder, announced their withdrawal last September the death knell of the National Broadband Plan had been sounded.

The “noises” coming recently from the new owners of eir were that they were going to concentrate on urban areas, as the new owner does in France.  From this perspective the withdrawal comes as no surprise.

Earlier this month there were announcements from the government that access to eir’s network would be subject to legislation in a probable bid to “save” the ailing NBP.

Almost from the outset the mis-management, dithering and excessively over complicated bureaucracy involved in the plan has finally suffocated the NBP.  What should have been a simple goal, to deliver fibre to every home, became quite frankly idiotic in scope and finally died of government stupidity and incompetence. In the immortal words of a former president of the US the most chilling phrase in the English language is “I’m from the government, I’m here to help” and true to form the government managed to strangle the NBP with “good intentions”.

Where to now?

So today’s announcement should not come as a surprise to those “in the know”, the question is where does the NBP go now? Perhaps the proposed legislation should be finalized and access to all formerly state-owned infrastructure should be more highly regulated or perhaps even re-nationalized in some form, after all the people of Ireland have already paid for it and since privatization of Telecom Eireann there has been almost zero investment in rural infrastructure apart from the exchanges.

The people of Ireland, both rural and urban, really need answers now to the question “where to now”, hopefully the postmortem should bring some answers…


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