Campaign for rural broadband launched
The failure to deliver broadband to many rural areas of the country has had major social and economic costs, a conference was told today.
Irish Rural Link said it was launching a national campaign to pressure the Government into improving the service in rural areas.
Chief Executive Seamus Boland told the meeting in Charleville, Co Cork that urgent action was required and expressed concern that the Government’s National Broadband Scheme (NDBS) may not be adequate.
The NBS, announced in May 2007 aims to provide broadband to the areas of Ireland that are unserved and ensure that every reasonable request for broadband in these areas is met.
However, Mr Boland said a number of concerns about the proposed scheme had not been answered.
“The main concern is that the areas which the NBS is proposed to cover do not include all those areas where people cannot in fact get broadband,” he said.
“The Department of Communications estimates that in approximately 10 per cent of the country broadband is not potentially available. A number of experts have estimated the actual figure to be twice or three times the Department’s figure”.
The group has launched a campaign which it says will ensure that everybody who has tried and failed to get broadband in rural Ireland can make Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan and his officials aware of the fact.
The campaign called Connect Rural Ireland will involve postcards being distributed to rural communities which can then be sent to the Department of Communications.
“The Connect Rural Ireland campaign will ensure that the Department of Communications will know unambiguously where the problem areas are instead of having to rely only on broadband distributors as they currently do,” Mr Boland added.