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Order of Business

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Senator Michelle Mulherin

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I welcome the report of the independent auditor, Peter Smyth, which gives a clean bill of health to our national broadband plan and processes. It is now imperative we drive on to see delivery of high-speed broadband on the ground. What we are attempting here is unprecedented in terms of State intervention to ensure that all households have access to high-speed broadband. I ask that the new Minister be invited to the Chamber to set out how we will proceed from here.
I raise one significant point in this regard. Affordability for households must be at the heart of the new national broadband plan. If householders cannot afford to pay for the broadband service once the Government rolls it out, it will be a disaster. It is in the Government's interest that every household avails of a broadband service. The reason I caution the House in this regard is that Eir has rolled out and offered broadband to 200,000 households under its commercial rural deployment plan, which comes under the national plan for the roll-out of high-speed broadband, but only one in seven of these households has taken up the offer. If we do not make broadband affordable for households, we will not have broadband and we will waste billions in taxpayers' money. This is an essential element of the broadband we need to deliver in the future. I ask that the Minister be invited to the Chamber as soon as possible in order that all these issues can be clarified.