Timmy Dooley has said the Government need to stop congratulating themselves about broadband usage in schools as it doesn’t reflect the challenges that children in rural Ireland are facing.
Clare Fianna Fáil TD Dooley mentioned the Economic and Social Research Institute which shows broadband in schools has a positive impact on the learning effect and learning environment. While he acknowledges this is a good move he points out that there is lack of services after schooling. “In hundreds of communities’ right across the country, once school pupils leave the school grounds, their access to high-speed, high-quality broadband becomes almost non-existent.
“It’s all well and good for the Minister and his officials touting the excellent broadband services in our schools, but it makes no difference to the pupils once they go home. Earlier this week I questioned the Minister on the roll out of the National Broadband Plan, and it’s clear that just like Easter, the timeline and deadlines for the Plan are movable feasts.”
Deputy Dooley added “We are only short of Minister Naughten checking the position of the sun and moon to decide the next extension to this already heavily delayed scheme. Nothing the Minister said in the Dáil on Wednesday would give rural communities hope about when they can be guaranteed decent, high speed broadband.”
Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Communications criticised the Government for their lack of ambition in delivering this service. “30 Mbps as the minimum threshold for the so-called “high-speed broadband” promised in the government’s plan is paltry and represents second rate ambition which will be quickly overtaken by technological advances. The FCC in America have said that speeds below 25 Mbps could no longer even be referred to as ‘broadband’.
“Meanwhile, the European Commission has set a premier benchmark level of at least 100 megabytes download speeds per second for the EU by 2020. We are showing second rate ambition for delivering download speeds that will be out-dated in 5 years’ time” Dooley concluded.