‘Jobs in rural Ireland could be lost’ if broadband services don’t improve

Jobs in rural Ireland could be lost if the delivery of the National Broadband Plan is not sped up, according to TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

A recent survey has shown that Ireland’s broadband speeds are among the slowest in Europe, the TD for the Roscommon-Galway constituency said.

“The survey reveals that 21 EU countries – including Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia – have average broadband speeds faster than those available here.

It is clear that the non-availability of a proper broadband service is affecting the competitiveness of many small firms based in rural areas – and jobs will be lost unless this is addressed immediately.

“ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association) and IBEC have indicated their concern at the figures,” Fitzmaurice said.

The rural TD believes that the red tape and unnecessary planning and administrative processes, associated with this plan, should be removed to allow it to be delivered upon more promptly.

“Eir has been given the job to make 350,000 connections by 2020, but there is still concern at how long it will take to make the remaining connections after that – and the timeline for that contract to be completed.

“A reliable and efficient broadband service is now one of the essentials for doing business of any kind.

“It is imperative that the National Broadband Plan is sped up, so that businesses do not lose out and that no jobs are lost as a result of the poor broadband service which exists in many areas at present,” he concluded.

National Broadband Plan

At the beginning of April, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, revealed that thousands of extra premises across the country would be able to access high-speed broadband within 90 weeks.

These premises were previously part of the State Intervention Area but will now be provided by Eir.

The minister also updated the Broadband Intervention Map – adding 84,500 premises to the State Intervention Area.