IFA backs Eir in bid for National Broadband Plan
Farmers’ group announces strategic tie-up to bring high-speed broadband to rural areas
IFA President Joe Healy: “Access to high-speed broadband is critical for farm families in running their farm businesses.” Photograph: Finbarr O’Rourke
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has rowed in behind Eir’s bid for the National Broadband Plan, the Government-backed scheme which aims to bring high-speed broadband to rural Ireland.
As part of the strategic tie-up, announced today, the IFA will assist Eir, the State’s largest telco, in developing the best broadband solution for the Irish farming community.
The issue of rural broadband repeatedly came up as a major concern on the doorsteps during the last general election. More than 80,000 farms are located in broadband blackspots.
Eir is one of three shortlisted bidders for the scheme, which was recently expanded to encompass 927,000 homes, nearly half the total housing stock.
“Access to high-speed broadband is critical for farm families in running their farm businesses and having the same opportunities for their families in terms of education and other areas,” IFA president Joe Healy said.
The Government has opted to privatise the proposed infrastructure, on the grounds it will reduce the cost to the State by up to 70 per cent.
The three consortiums vying for the tender – Eir, Siro and Enet – are likely to mount bids using predominantly fibre technology as it is the fastest available.