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Rural areas being left behind again with lack of broadband – Kenny

29 April, 2016 - by Martin Kenny TD

News that the Department of Communications has admitted that the provision of high speed broadband would be postponed again, this time until 2020, is indicative of the attitude of government to rural Ireland, said local TD Martin Kenny of Sinn Féin, who represents Sligo, Leitrim and parts of Cavan and Donegal.

Deputy Kenny said:

“Nowadays, if you don’t have reliable broadband you cannot function in a modern society. People are hindered from doing business and students cannot avail of distance learning or even function within university systems in which they submit their assignments online.

“There are people in these parts who have broadband speeds of between half a Mb and one Mb. They might manage to send a small message or look on Facebook, but sending or downloading anything of any size is impossible.

“Doing business is almost impossible. I know of someone employing 30 people in a rural area of West Cavan, whose business demands that she participate in on-line bidding for product. She has to travel to the nearest town to get a signal and even then, it is low speed.

“Talk about operating with your hands tied behind your back. We need jobs and services in rural Ireland and people trying to do that are handicapped by the lack of broadband.

“From next year, farmers will be obliged to apply for their basic payments online too. If this is to be implemented, how does the Minister envisage it happening with the lack of service that exists at the moment.

“These days, and especially for the younger generation, not being online can mean being socially isolated.

“It is not good enough that rural Ireland comes last again. Broadband is an essential service and rural areas should not be left behind. The provision of proper fibre broadband across rural Ireland would be the game-changer in the creation of a rural economy and local jobs.” 

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