Eir and broadband subsidies


Sir, – Jack Horgan-Jones, discussing Eir’s offer to complete the National Broadband Plan (NBP) for under €1 billion (“Explainer: Is Eir´s ¤1bn broadband plan a credible offer?” June 28th) writes that “while taxpayers could save under the Eir plan, consumers may pick up the tab longterm. And they, of course, are the same people”.

This of course is quite wrong. The consumer is the individual receiving the service; the taxpayer is the country as a whole and taxpayers in urban areas will generally already be paying the commercial rate for their own broadband, as consumers themselves.

Its now become accepted, without any real explanation, that rural broadband should be subsidised by general taxation even though many of these urban taxpayers are already paying a commercial rate (even if lower) for their own service so end up paying twice.

In fact the cost of living under many headings, especially housing, is lower in rural areas yet no-one suggests (and I would not either) that rural taxpayers should subsidise urban house-buyers for the higher prices they face. However that really begs the question: Why should one relatively minor cost, rural broadband, be subsidised by urban taxpayers who face higher costs overall? – Yours, etc,


Greystones, Co Wicklow.