Counting the cost of broadband plan

Sir, – Leo Varadkar, like some other commentators, confuses the roll-out of a fibre-optic cabling system with the roll-out of broadband ("Expensive and challenging broadband rollout will be worth it", Opinion & Analysis, May 8th). They are not the same thing.

Fibre connectivity will be outmoded by superior wireless modes of data transmission in the near future. In a few years, people will likely compare the National Broadband Plan not to the electrification of Ireland in the 1930s, but to previous ill-considered white-elephant schemes like e-voting machines and iodine tablets.

The NBP will, of course, cost public money on a scale several orders of magnitudes greater than either of those. In the meantime, many people are homeless in huge numbers and our health system creaks under tremendous strain.

The political epitaph of this Fine Gael Government may very well read, “Tried hard to buy votes but spent the money on the wrong thing”. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 7.

Sir, – While this fortune is being wasted on an infrastructure that the State will not own, other broadband providers will continue to introduce their services to more and more locations around the country, at no cost to the State. They will do so with wireless broadband, a technology that will overtake the fibre-optic technology in the National Broadband Plan. This is madness, and no amount of spin will change this reality. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Regarding the State investment of €3 billion of public money in the NBP network installation, reports say Eir will make a billion euro from leasing its infrastructure, contractors will charge an unknown connection fee, a private company will fully own and run the broadband network and sell access to other private companies, and with a State buyback option in about 25 years or so.

Whatever about the internet, this is frighteningly looking more like a high-speed private profit network! – Yours, etc,



Co Tipperary.

Sir, – Another seven years for broadband to be introduced nation-wide. Hasn’t it already been seven years since then-minister Pat Rabbitte rolled out his nationwide broadband plan? What happened? Governments change, ministers retire from the field, and the estimated broadband rollout cost in 2012 to the taxpayer of €200 million has now become €3 billion. That is some leap.

It is a good thing the Government has taxpayers. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.