The IFA has called on the Government to accelerate the rollout of the National Broadband Programme to rural areas.

Speaking after a meeting with the CEO of National Broadband Ireland (NBI), IFA national treasurer Martin Stapleton said rural dwellers, farmers and rural business owners need access to high-quality broadband.

“While the rollout of the National Broadband Programme is to be welcomed, the current seven-year target needs to be revised and made more ambitious,” he said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has put major pressure on farmers and rural dwellers.

Daily business

“Many have found the lack of access to good broadband has severely curtailed their ability to conduct their daily business and access the online services necessary to run their farms and homes. This is simply not good enough,” he said.

Stapleton welcomed the commitment of NBI to advance its discussions with Government about an accelerated rollout of the programme.

“If the Government ambitions of facilitating more remote working from rural areas is to be met, then they need to intervene to bring the rollout of the programme forward.

“Any commitments around this must focus on the areas that are deprived of a service most. In the current model, those most in need will be last in line,” he said.