Broadband commitments must be met – Connaughton

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Commitments made under the National Broadband Plan to provide rural premises with basic fibre speed broadband must be upheld, according to Paul Connaughton T.D.

The East Galway T.D. said that he has raised the issue with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. and has stressed the need for the Government to fulfil its promise in relation to broadband.

‘High-speed broadband is no longer a luxury, it is now a necessity for every business and there is a real danger that by failing to live up to this commitment, we will leave large swathes of rural Ireland without proper broadband and by extension without small businesses and the jobs they bring to rural communities.

 

‘In recent weeks I was contacted by a businessman in County Galway seeking to set up a business in a rural part of East Galway, which will eventually create three or four high-quality jobs.  However, broadband is the stumbling block and the advice he received from his broadband provider was to set up business in the city.  This is a ludicrous situation and one which deserves proper consideration and a proper solution. Without high-speed broadband, we are leaving rural communities without the wherewithal to provide a base for small or medium enterprises.

‘This week we heard IDA Chief Executive Barry O’Leary state that the key growth areas in terms of foreign direct investment in Ireland are technology, life sciences and international financial services.   While most foreign direct investment jobs are located in cities, smaller companies in these sectors can set up outside of cities and the larger towns, but without high speed broadband this is simply not possible.

‘Broadband in rural areas is not a luxury, it is a necessity and if we are to avoid a digital divide, every effort must be made to ensure that broadband provision is provided across the country and special efforts must be made to accommodate prospective employers in terms of ensuring broadband availability where jobs are proposed.’