Editors Blog: Kilmovee the #1 Broadband NotSpot

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Did you know there is over a three hundred fold broadband speed difference on average between rural Ireland and most urban areas?

Are you sick of the loading spinner from hell?

 

With the average rural speed being 1Mbs (Megabyte per second) compared to our urban counterparts that are capable of receiving 360Mbs in some areas.

The IDA brags:

Ireland is home to many of the world’s leading high-performance companies including Intel, Twitter, Pfizer, Citi, Huawei, Takeda, Fujitsu, Novartis and Trend Micro. The country is also positioning itself to become a world leader in the Internet of Things, Big Data, ICT Skills, Energy Efficiency, Health Innovation and Cloud Computing.

In a country that has 9 of the top 15 internet companies and 9 of the top 10 global software companies.

Where it’s said “Ireland has one of the most advanced and competitive telecommunications infrastructures in Europe.”

Example one:

Yet, Kilmovee Community Centre & Family Resource Centre have to rely on a satellite, the same technology as a Community Centre in northern Ethiopia! Or, where residents have to rely on our most advanced telecommunications infrastructures to receive broadband not much faster the ‘dial up’ at times at a premium… Talking of which some people in the area can’t even get a mobile signal and DO rely on dial up! Dial up in the 21st century is like ?????

These two charitable organisations rely heavily on contributions and funding and to have an expensive, weather dependant broadband in the 21st century is just not on…

We’re told it will be expensive and the money will have to go on the bills if we want rural broadband, Why? Let’s take for example broadband in Sweden, it’s provided by private companies (Comhem, Broadbandbologit, Teliasonera etc) They have 80% more rural areas to cover than Ireland. Their overhead costs are much higher than Ireland (wages, taxes etc) yet they can charge €25-30 per month anywhere in the country for 100 – 200mb connections, those 100mb connections in the middle of nowhere also get speed on average of 75mb.

I have written about this before and have been contacted by national media and seen some comments like “what do you expect, you chose to live in the middle of nowhere!” , yes we chose to live here, where we pay taxes, where we pay the same for phones and where we expect a decent level of service!

Example 2 (eir):

Run you own speed test and let us know what speeds you achieve…

The social life of rural Ireland is also severely affected by the country’s poor broadband infrastructure. Use of social media, online banking & shopping is becoming more prevalent in parts of the country where it is possible and has become a given in most urban places. But both require high internet speeds.

Then there are monthly allowances on most mobile broadband services at a meagre 10 – 40GB, limiting online activities too, with monstrous charges if you exceed limits!

How many rural jobs will be lost, due to lack of broadband between now and 2020 when the rural broadband plan will be implemented? A plan that is fundamentally flawed already as it will be working off figures and requirements from 2012/3, everyday requirements in 2016 already surpass those of 4 years ago.

So it may be time to stop talking about broadband as some sort of First World perk. Broadband is not a luxury, it is not something useful. It’s a basic necessity, like electricity or water. It is something that all citizens now need as a basic element in modern life.

Denis Naughten was appointed as Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources in Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael/Independent minority government and is relatively local, so should understand the difficulties we have with broadband, that said I would welcome dialogue with him (or even a statement I can publish here) to find out just why there is such a divide and what is going to actually be done, not spoke about or another plan/review or a qwango set up to end the broadband apartheid! Other countries have opened their market and successfully implemented affordable, efficient, reliable and speedy broadband for all.