The first farm has been connected with high-speed fibre broadband under the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

The farm, near Crossdoney, Co. Cavan, belongs to agricultural consultant Tom Canning, the president of the Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA).

Canning said that he “expects to benefit hugely” from the new broadband connection.

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company rolling out the NBP, said that high-speed broadband “has never been so important for Ireland’s farming community, as the agricultural sector has experienced an accelerated adoption of technological advances in recent years”.

Not only are essential business operations increasingly moving online, but farmers are utilising new technologies such as smart-farming devices.

The NBI highlighted the growth of online mart sales as an example of a greater necessity for broadband access among farmers.

“The need for the farming community to be connected to a high-speed network is vital as administration and the day-to-day running of a farm has moved online,” Canning highlighted.

For the purpose of my farm consultancy business, I also need a reliable network connection so I can effectively operate business from a rural base.

Meanwhile, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said that the connection of Canning’s farm “marks a major milestone”.

“Reliable access to high speed broadband will help farmers as they use agricultural technology to maximise efficiencies, diversify into more sustainable forms of farming, produce energy and run their day-to-day business operations,” the minister added.

Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys commented that the connectivity “provided under the NBP will allow rural innovation to continue and for more ambitious development to emerge”.

The NBP will allow people to remain in communities, rather then commute or move home for work.

NBI chairperson David McCourt said that the company was “doing everything in our power” to connect more premises around the country.