'They put a dish on my roof and pointed it at the mountain'
Published 30/05/2016 | 02:30
Les Mahon runs a successful IT business from his rural home. He can undertake various IT tasks, do all the standard back-office duties and conduct video-conferencing calls while cows graze in the fields around his home in Glanworth, Co Cork.
"Gingertec is an IT consultancy and our work involves clients all over Ireland and Europe," said Les.
"We don't have a head office in the traditional sense - we use cloud-based services for everything and employees work from client sites, home or collaborative working spaces as suits the job and their preference.
"To be able to work from home, I simply had to have decent broadband. It was a must."
Les tried without success to get broadband from fixed-line suppliers.
Because of his rural location, securing a reliable connection proved hugely problematic.
In the end, he secured a broadband connection to his home via Nova.
"Nova Broadband has an aerial on Nagle Mountain which provides a broadband service if you have line of sight," said Les. "They put a dish on the roof of my house and I get my broadband from that.
"I get a consistent and reliable 20MB connection, which is enough to allows me to do the work I need to do."
In many ways, Les represents the kind of IT success story long heralded for rural Ireland, but he warned that much more could be done to help people exploit IT opportunities.
"I know the ropes when it comes to IT, but I feel sorry for people in rural areas who have a broadband problem and don't know where to turn," he said. "There's no single place you can go to get answers to your questions.
"You have to hound private suppliers about networks, connections, speeds and when areas are going to be able to get broadband.
"There's a National Broadband Plan for Ireland, but there isn't a single agency or centre where you can get answers to specific questions.
"Broadband is a critical issue if you're to promote enterprise and indigenous industries in rural areas."