Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill is scathing of eir broadband coverage in Premier County
Tipperary Jackie Cahill has highlighted what he said could only be described as the "appalling levels of customer service that eir provides to its customers".
The Fianna Fáil TD told Minster for Communications Eamon Ryan in the Dáil, of a number of instances in the county where eir has shown a "complete and utter disregard" for the wishes and concerns of its customers. This is despite eir receiving over €900m in Exchequer funding to roll out the National Broadband Plan.
"Rural Ireland is being completely disregarded by eir, as it picks and chooses which customers it will deal with, leaving others to pay for services that are not fit for purpose or desperately trying to connect to fibre broadband in their locality," he said.
The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, expressed similar sentiments to Deputy Cahill’s, criticising eir for its "appalling treatment" of customers and asking if ComReg was doing its job properly.
“Minister, the people of rural Ireland have had enough of eir’s customer service standards and its approach to the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. I am receiving new complaints weekly in relation to the way eir treats its customers, and the manner in which it is supposedly connecting rural Ireland to high speed fibre broadband. Eir is regularly showing a complete and utter disregard for the concerns of the ordinary person in rural Ireland. This cannot continue," said Deputy Cahill.
Deputy Cahill said that one person in the Thurles area contacted him stating that they had tried and failed on numerous occasions to cancel their landline contract with eir.
"Every time she called their customer service, she was left on hold for up to an hour. She was not able to cancel her plan for months, despite best efforts. And then eir turned around and informed her that she owed a bill of over €100 for that period. Her line had given problems. She got fed up with trying to get it fixed, tried to cancel her plan and met roadblock after roadblock with eir’s customer service. This is not on,” he said
The Thurles TD also highlighted the case of a couple in Holycross, who contacted him with yet another situation that should not be allowed to arise and again called into question the manner in which eir was dealing with the rollout of the National Broadband Plan in Tipperary.
"Here, we have three houses next door to each other. The house in the middle is still not connected to the network, while both houses either side of them are. Eir have called out to the houses at least three times since I started making reps on this issue. Despite best efforts from all involved, eir have still not returned months later to connect this last house. Minister, the connection is right outside their front gate and eir simply will not act to connect this house to the grid, while their neighbours both sides of them enjoy connections to high-speed broadband," he aid.
"This would be laughable if it wasn’t so frustrating for those affected. Rural Ireland deserves better,” declared Deputy Cahill.
He had spoken to a constituent in Portroe, who lives just off the main road to Ballina.
"She is a teacher and during the first lockdown, she had to teach a number of her classes from her car as there is very little reception in her house. Eir have run the broadband route along the main road, but not down the back roads in this area. Again, this means that this woman’s neighbours can access high-speed broadband, work from home, study from home, and live comfortably from home, but her and her family do not enjoy the same connection as eir decided to bypass their small country road. How is this acceptable treatment for rural Ireland?”
“Finally, in Killenaule, Littleton, and the Horse and Jockey, I have three separate examples of households where people are working from home, and where eir have refused to run an additional length of cable to connect these houses. One of these houses only needs a length of cable 200 metres long put down and the other two houses only need slightly over a kilometre covered in order to enjoy the same access to broadband that their neighbours enjoy. Imagine the absolute frustration at being the only house in your townland left without a connection. This is a reality for far too many,” he said.
Deputy Cahill said that people were expected to work from home, to study from home and to live in rural Ireland with ease and comfort. Yet, eir continued to disregard and ignore the needs and requests of its customers, without the slightest bit of concern for the best interests of rural Ireland.