Broadband for rural employers must be addressed


East Galway TD Paul Connaughton this week welcomed the publication of online national and county maps which identify homes, businesses and schools which will have high-speed broadband access by the end of 2016.
Deputy Connaughton encouraged rural dwellers to engage in a consultation process to identify shortcomings in the broadband service in rural areas and said that he will be working to highlight the broadband difficulties being faced by employers all across county Galway as well as by people wishing to work from home.
‘In recent weeks and months I have been inundated with queries from constituents who are quite simply unable to conduct their business because of the lack of proper broadband services. The National Broadband Scheme, delivered by 3, proved problematic to say the least, in many areas of county Galway. Areas such as Ballygar, Creggs and Kilkerrin have experienced particular difficulties. Many small employers and shop owners report that as broadband take up increases, their broadband speeds have decreased, making simple online transactions, such as lotto ticket dispensing, increasingly difficult.
‘There are also many people wishing to work from home in rural areas and I believe that everything possible must be done to promote people working from homes in rural areas.
‘Progress to date on the issue of rural broadband has been painfully slow and the lack of proper information has been extremely frustrating. I note that groups such as Ireland Offline are welcoming this current plan because of the level of detail that it provides. There have been many false dawns in terms of broadband in recent years and it is crucial that this plan is implemented quickly and efficiently to promote and support existing employment in rural areas and also to aid the creation of new employment opportunities.
‘Broadband provision is the twenty first century equivalent of rural electrification and people living in rural areas deserve the same opportunities to access employment, learning and ideas as those in urban areas.’