Sunday 30 April 2017

'Gigabit society' can bridge the broadband divide separating rural and urban Ireland

The gigabit society will mean offering employees better work-life balance, cutting carbon emissions and lowering pressure on housing in built-up areas (Stock picture)
The gigabit society will mean offering employees better work-life balance, cutting carbon emissions and lowering pressure on housing in built-up areas (Stock picture)

Anne O'Leary

It may be difficult for us to understand now but only 70 years ago there were effectively two Irelands. Urban Ireland with electricity and the mod cons associated with it, and Rural Ireland that had to get by without.

Today we are once again looking at an urban/rural divide; the only difference now is that instead of electricity, the deficit is in broadband connectivity.

2016 marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Rural Electrification Scheme in Ireland. Within a few years of the planting of that first pole, rural Ireland had been transformed. Farming was catapulted into the 20th century and employment opportunities blossomed as new enterprises sprung up in previously inhospitable and impractical locations. Every aspect of rural society benefited - education, healthcare, home life and social life.

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