Fine Gael’s Broadband Manifesto – Talk about clueless

Amazing that the political parties pay experts to brief them on broadband and telecoms and then they come up with the following backwards, mundane, buzzword laden tripe:

Fine Gael in Government will adopt a two-stage strategy to revolutionise broadband access in Ireland recognising that Ireland has one of the lowest take-ups of broadband in the EU and the total failure of Government policy in this area, with many householders and businesses unable to connect to a broadband service.

It’s more than just takeup. There’s quality, there’s competition and there’s the future.

• We will immediately prioritise the extension of access to basic broadband services across the whole country. Other countries with similar population density and settlement patterns, such as Norway and Northern Ireland, have achieved 100% coverage of basic broadband services long ago. We will ensure it happens here.

How? Care to mention the way this will be done? Do you actually know or would you do what Dempsey did and just ask the Civil Servants? Cos you know, that really worked didn’t it?

• We will move quickly to put in place so-called Next Generation networks that will improve on the existing broadband service as a second stage in our strategy to create a fresh vision of our future telecoms needs. The fastest broadband available to households in Ireland is still slower than that available in many countries.

If you do get into Government, how will you do this? How how how? NGN is a buzzword that the current Government are latching on to as well.

• We will achieve this vision in a way that will be efficient and speedy and will not be characterised by an overblown budget or an inordinate delay. A number of options are available.

Talk, talk, talk.

One possibility is to create a brand new infrastructure under State control.

A little more detail there lads?

Another possibility is the pooling, integration and further development of existing telecom assets of private and public bodies under the management of a new Public Private Partnership, with organisations taking ownership shares in the new entity commensurate with the value of the assets contributed – subject to control by the State of the infrastructure.

Sounds really messy. Too many stakeholders spoil the broth?

• We will work, over a short and well-defined period, with ComReg and the industry participants to agree a plan to achieve this vision in the shortest time and most cost effective manner.

Same ole shit,, different political ribbon. You cannot guarantee shortest time and cost effective. Working with the telecoms poodle means it’s doomed.

If this is how Fine Gael plans on our telecoms future then Ireland isn’t going improve.

16 Responses to “Fine Gael’s Broadband Manifesto – Talk about clueless”

  1. liam noonan says:

    If they had suggested replacing Comreg with somebody who could actually compel/force Telcos to open their cabinets and share their last mile networks then it would have been worth noting.

    Also a requirement to connect all geographic areas seems to be missing. Public private partnership means competition in the urban areas but nobody is going to spend money bringing broadband to a rural hinterland unless its subsidised.

  2. Andrew says:

    Fianna Fáil might still be re-elected. Hope that makes you feel better.

  3. Joe says:

    This is a joint FG/Labour policy but you don’t seem to want to knock them, do you?

    It would be nice if you could spell out a simple solution – a countrywide, government run wireless/DSL network for 9.99 a month. Lovely… except that this would be riding roughshod over every commercial operator and group broadband scheme in the country.

    If they get it, they have to negotiate and decide exactly what they can do and who is willing to play ball.

  4. Does anyone have the lowdown (Damien, I’m sure you do) on the service I saw announced last weekend that will give coverage to the whole country on some sort of a grid system. Anyone know the price?

    Living in the Mealagh Valley near Bantry, no broadband available except satellite at a fantastic price. I have a neighbour who works in a call centre and commutes 50 miles to Cork. Daft or what?

  5. Evert says:


    That’s Ice broadbands’ bullshit anouncement on their plans to cover the whole country by the end of this year. Seeing that Fran Rooney stated today that they “already” have 30 towns covered with 30 basestation I would suggets that you do not hold your breath….


  6. A little imagination would have gone a long way for promoting broadband in Ireland during the past decade. Why didn’t planners insist upon conduit and dark fibre for all new housing estates, schools and industrial developments? Why didn’t the government spray free wireless access from all libraries, town halls and civic offices? Why couldn’t all funded community CCTV schemes also be wireless internet access nodes on the same poles as the cameras?

    Some of these could be hare-brained throwaways but at least one of these suggestions, if actioned, would have pointed to a policy that was attempting to stimulate public uptake of broadband on the back of a related infrastructure policy.

  7. Damien says:

    This is a joint FG/Labour policy but you don’t seem to want to knock them, do you?

    Their time will come Joe, along with all the other parties. One per day. However having personally met and talked to the FG spokesperson on communications, his input on how bad things are for 1000s of people was a comment of “shocking” two tuts and a “well see ya now” and off he went. I’d have expected more from the supposed spokesperson.

  8. Damien says:

    It would be nice if you could spell out a simple solution – a countrywide, government run wireless/DSL network for 9.99 a month.

    The solution was already put down by the Joint Oireachtas Committee report on Broadband which Durkan apparently helped formulate but when I asked him to implement the report if he was in Government all I got in reply was to “read the FG manifesto”. A bit bloody rich that this guy won’t even endorse or implement something he was involved in.

  9. […] I will let Damien tell you why Fine Gael’s manifesto on broadband is useless. […]

  10. Joe says:

    I’m afraid you’ll meet a lot of people who have already made up their minds on how to vote and will talk and talk and talk on issues, sometimes just for the sake of talking. I don’t know in what context you met Bernard.

    There is also a good chance that he may not be the minister responsible for communications – it could be another FG person or even Labour. The Village suggests Mairead McGuinness

    So unless you have a problem with the manifesto, leave personal encounters out of it.

  11. Anonymoose says:

    I would hope that the Fine Gael Spokesperson on Communications had imput into writing the communications elements of the Fine Gael Manifesto and would therefore be the perfect person to ask about them. The question about implementing an oireactas committee report which he contibuted to is perfectly valid. Saing things like “read the manifesto is ridiculous”.
    If you came to my door with Kieran O’Donnell and in answer to any questions I had he said “Read the Manifesto” I’d shut the door in his face and tell him to f*ck off. We’re not electing parrots here.
    It’d be funny to see Enda on the prime time debate with Bertie saying “Read the manifesto” “Read the manifesto…. squawk”

    Joe did you lift your “ruuning roughshod over commercial operator” line from PD literature. Are you sure you’re supporting the right party.

    The question of 100% broadband roll out is ridiculous. For example there’s a town in Limerick called Patrickswell. It’s a commuter town it’s only 5km from Raheen less than 15mins drive from the city centre and it doesn’t have broadband. It’s not on the list for broadband and according to eircom it’ll get upgraded eventually but it’s not on the list for 2007 or 2008. This sort of situation is completely ridiculous. We can’t even think about 100% broadband availability if we can’t even get towns and villages within pissing distance of major urban centres online.

    For a Finegael spokesperson on communications to tell someone in answer to a question “Go read the manifesto” would nearly make you want to vote for the PDs.

  12. Damien says:

    So unless you have a problem with the manifesto, leave personal encounters out of it.

    Personal encounters? I met him in his official capacity as Comms spokesperson at the launch of the Oireachtas broadband report, the one he now will now not endorse. And people don’t vote for manifestos, they vote for people who have the ability to implement the manifestos. All politics is personal and if the supposed point-man on an area avoids any form of engagement on that area, it is a worrying trend.

  13. […] Damien, as usual, hits the nail on the head.   […]

  14. Joe says:

    Fair enough Damien, sounds poor alright. And it would be a reason to give the job to someone with more interest in the area. That is what I think should happen – if someone doesn’t perform, get them out of there and get someone better to implement the policy.

    As for discussing issues on doorsteps, Kieran has never dismissed people with “Read the Manifesto� as far as I know.

    The point is that an awful lot of people expect a visit from the candidates and it is physically impossible to have a good discussion with each one of up to 100,000 people in 3 weeks. A little maths or experience on the doorsteps will show you that. After the election, there will be clinics and an office to take the time to go into the issues with whoever wants to discuss them.

    As for 100% coverage. Did you hear of BBnet They are doing wireless broadband in Adare and they may even cover Patrickswell (at least according to and there is mention of a transmitter on Cratloe Hill and people getting a signal in Askeaton. If the government were to cover Patrickswell, then they could be put out of business. It might make more sense to subsidise them to cover Patrickswell too if they haven’t plans to cover it already.

  15. laura says:

    The Green Party’s manifesto is worse!!
    “Set the mobile phone operators, cable companies and Eircom into direct competition to get cheaper, faster and more integrated services”

    What does that mean?

    I’d be happy with one line: “We will give Comreg some sharp teeth”.

  16. […] or email. Thanks for visiting – Damien.Well I guess they do need to keep going when it comes to being clueless. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, launching a new FG policy on broadband said the plan will tackle […]