TDs get up to speed

30 May 2005

The Houses of the Oireachtas have put out a tender seeking more than 200 broadband connections for the homes and constituency offices of TDs in order to facilitate remote access.

Tenders are being invited to upgrade existing connections to broadband. At present access is provided by ISDN circuits and Lucent ISDN routers, which will become redundant.

There are almost 200 separate locations, spread across all areas of the country, that will require broadband. This number of locations may increase in the future, the tender document states.

According to the tender document, the Houses of the Oireachtas are seeking a broadband provider that will provide the service as part of a two-year contract.

If the contract rollout succeeds, it could act as the kind of trigger that will ensure rural locations currently not being provided with broadband get this initial service.

However, broadband lobby group IrelandOffline expressed surprise that serving TDs do not already have broadband. IrelandOffline committee member Aidan Whyte told “We were quite surprised to note that not our all of our elected representatives had broadband already and even more surprised that they needed help to get broadband. I would think though that their difficulty mirrors the difficulty that 45pc of the population are having with broadband unavailable to them.

“Despite numerous reports recommending e-government as one method of promoting broadband we now see that our TDs are not using broadband. This does not help address the dire broadband situation in Ireland. All stakeholders need to pull their weight and work together to promote broadband uptake,” Whyte said.

By John Kennedy