Fianna Fáil general election candidate Cllr Declan Breathnach says more needs to be done to reduce the costs associated with mobile phone roaming for Louth residents.
Cllr Breathnach made the comments following confirmation that the European Commission is set to alter the pricing structure for roaming across Europe from 30th April 2016.
“Through my work on Louth County Council I have been a strong advocate for the complete abolition of roaming charges between the north and south. Louth residents have been ripped off for years when it comes to roaming charges. Many people in the county have family and work commitments in Northern Ireland, and they have had to put up with extortionate roaming fees whenever they cross the border,” said Cllr Breathnach.
“The European Commission has confirmed that roaming charges will be curtailed in the months ahead. This is a welcome development, but we need to acknowledge that more needs to be done to reduce the costs and inconveniences associated with roaming. The battle hasn’t finished just yet. At a recent Memorandum of Understanding meeting between Louth County Council and Down District Council I highlighted the need for more to be done to tackle mobile phone coverage and roaming issues in the border region.
“Anyone who has to travel across the border will know that mobile phone coverage often deteriorates significantly, and it can take far too long for mobile phones to connect to an alternative network. This not only causes issues for individuals, but also for businesses such as haulage companies that rely on sat-nav operated through the phone network. It’s an issue that the European Commission simply has not addressed to date.
“I am calling on mobile phone networks to introduce a ‘border corridor’ zone in order to tackle this problem. Such a corridor will see mobile phone users being charged the same call and text charge as they transition to a different network. Furthermore it will allow for mobile phone coverage to be strengthened in the border to such an extent that people will not even notice as they transition to a different mobile provider.
“This in turn will help strengthen the community ties between north and south, and it’s something that I’ll continue to pursue in the months ahead,” said Cllr Breathnach.