February 21, 2020

Rural Kilkenny to finally get high-speed broadband, but plan will cost taxpayers €3bn

THE Government is set to give the green light to the rollout of the national broadband plan, which will finally deliver high-speed internet facilities to rural parts of Kilkenny.

However, the cost of the project to taxpayers is likely to be a whopping €3 billion, according to reports this morning.

The Irish Times, citing briefings from “multiple sources” close to the ongoing discussions, said the Cabinet is likely to be asked to sign off on the plan next week.

This would pave the way for the plan to provide high-speed broadband to all rural areas not served by commercial operators.

It is reported the Government is set to embark on a major publicity drive to sell the plan to voters, with rural-based Ministers taking a lead role.

Ministers and Government TDs had feared the escalating cost of the plan – which was originally estimated to cost €500 million – would result in another damaging cost overrun controversy akin to the scandal that has engulfed the beleaguered National Children’s Hospital project.

But they feared a decision to shelve the project would cause a severe backlash in rural areas in advance of next month’s local and European elections

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