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Report on broadband speeds highlights Government inaction - Senator Rose Conway Walsh

15 November, 2016 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Responding in the Seanad today to a report on poor broadband connection speeds especially in rural areas, Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh highlighted the negative impact that this has on businesses and individuals.

The Mayo Senator said: “Today we see yet another report on the lack of broadband in rural areas.  The report by Switcher comparison website, has confirmed what many of us who live and work in rural Ireland have known for a long time. Broadband coverage and connection speeds are wholly inadequate in rural Ireland.

“Every delay in the roll out of the plan prevents small businesses from setting up or expanding.  It denies people real employment opportunities.”

“To concentrate the wonderful minds we have in this Fianna Gael/Fianna Fail Government, I believe it is now time that, businesses that do not have the minimum of 100 mbps get a rates exemption.”

Commenting on the experience of her own county of Mayo Conway-Walsh noted:

“The economic apartheid caused by leaving whole swathes of Rural Ireland including small rural towns without this essential means of communication is devastating. In my own case it has taken the best part of six months to secure even basic communication tools from my Mayo office.”

“The severe social exclusion imposed upon individuals, families and communities as a result of not having adequate broadband is intolerable. Government services and information are blocked from reaching the population of rural areas because they cannot access the internet and websites.”

“It means that people cannot reliably access online banking or pay their bills online. This is important in a climate where many utilities have almost entirely switched to online payment systems. We want immediate action on broadband in Rural Ireland.  We need the National Broadband Plan to urgently start in the remotest rural areas and work towards the towns.”

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