Price hike now threatens boxty bakery's plans for online venture
A specialist bakery in Co Leitrim has voiced its concern after it emerged rural customers on the Government's National Broadband Scheme are about to be hit with price hikes of €180.
Co-owner of McNiffe Bakery in Aughnasheelin, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, Detta McNiffe said she currently pays €20 per month for the service.
"As it is, we would have very bad coverage from it at the best of times. If the price is to increase, I just don't know what's going to happen there."
Ms McNiffe said the fee for the 3 Ireland broadband service sometimes increases to €50 or €60 depending on usage.
"It's already very expensive. We just couldn't be paying for it if the price goes up. We'd have to seek alternatives or just do without it," she said.
The boxty bakery, which specialises in a type of bread made using grated raw potatoes and flour, uses broadband for answering emails as well as taking online orders via its website.
The 25-year-old company, which has sold its products to countries around the globe, including the United States and Australia, recently launched its online store in an attempt to attract more customers from surrounding areas and around the globe.
While Ms McNiffe said online orders currently account for under 10pc of the business, she said she is looking to grow this revenue stream and that this could be difficult if they do not have access to a reliable and affordable broadband service.
She is just one of an estimated 45,000 rural customers to be hit by the hike from next month.
She added that the company has now moved its main business to The Food Hub in Drumshambo, citing access to faster Eircom Broadband as one of the reasons for the move.