Cut off and forgotten about
Rural spots require better web access -- it needs sorting now
Published 09/03/2010 | 05:00
I live within 25km of the centre of Dublin and 3km from the M4 motorway, yet when I recently asked an eircom employee why broadband was still unavailable in my locality he replied: "What do you expect when you live in the middle of nowhere?"
My county, Meath, is clearly a rural backwater in the minds of the people who run eircom. If that is their attitude, then what chance is there for the rest of rural Ireland where people struggle to work from home and run small enterprises?
A friend who owns a successful photographic company moved his office from Dublin to his home near Kilcock, Co Kildare, a few years ago to avoid the daily commute. Until recently he managed with the services of one of the private wireless broadband companies but, due to problems at their local station, they are currently unable to supply a service in the Maynooth/Kilcock area.
Like me, despite living in the commuter belt of Dublin city, he cannot get eircom broadband and he and his staff may soon have to move back to the city.
In the past, you will have read in this column about the difficulty of obtaining broadband in rural Ireland but, in the intervening years, little has changed. Despite all the promises and ministerial announcements, the fact remains that broadband is still unavailable for thousands of rural homes and businesses.
It is difficult not to get angry when we hear and see the daily adverts for broadband on the radio, TV and in newspapers. Who do these people think they are kidding? If we are to generate local employment and help small firms to function properly then we must install a proper national phone network.
I thought of writing to my local TDs and asking them how they feel about representing a constituency that is considered to be "the middle of nowhere". It would be nice to know what our Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, thinks.
The failure of eircom to give us a proper service is a disgrace and one wonders how Mary O'Rourke and her fellow politicians now feel about the selling off of our national phone company. To see how bad things are just take a drive on any country road and look at the tangle of wires strung along branches and lying in roadside ditches. Why was this allowed to happen? How can the linesmen, who struggle to keep us all connected, function with this appalling third-world set up? No wonder jobs are being lost daily as firms move abroad to countries with proper communication facilities.