The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern today dismissed as ‘nonsense’ reports that the Government’s broadband project was being delayed.
The Minister said that he wished to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to its broadband in the regions programme (Metropolitan Area Networks project) which will involve the spending of €83m between this year and 2004. “We have spent or are spending €19m this year, €32m in 2003 and €32m in 2004. All 19 centres in the broadband Metropolitan Area Networks project are going ahead,” he said.
The Minister’s statement comes in light of reports that the Government was planning to postpone the construction of a 100 kilometre fibre optic network in Waterford and five nearby towns. “As regards the report that there has been a cut in the south east project, this flies in the face of the facts. The necessary planning, environmental, design and preparatory work has already begun in that region with regard to three of those towns, Kilkenny, Waterford and Dungarvan,” he said.
“The south east has six of the 19 towns, under the aegis of the South-East Regional Authority. These towns are Carlow, Clonmel, Dungarvan, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford. We are finalising with the Director of the Regional Authority the timetable for commencement and funding drawdown,” he added.
By Dick O’Brien