Irish farming a decade behind EU rivals in broadband service
Irish agriculture is 10 years behind other EU countries due to poor broadband services, farm contractors have said.
Delegates attending the recent Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland (PAC) conference said that they are lagging behind other EU countries as they cannot use smart farm technologies such as GPS as effectively as other nations due to poor broadband services.
PAC chairman Michael Sheehan, who has been contracting in Co Tipperary for 43 years, said that Ireland is miles behind EU broadband standards.
"My broadband is extremely poor and I'm not living too far from the town of Clonmel. Phone signal is pretty miserable and if we're going to progress with smart farming, we're going to need a proper broadband system. We're 10 years behind other countries. We're miles behind," he said.
John Graves, a contractor in Cashel, Co Tipperary, added that he sometimes needs to use two sources of internet as the service is so unreliable. "Our internet is very bad. They started rolling the fibre broadband out in my road and they stopped three houses away from me," he said.
Tom Murphy of PAC added that the lack of broadband is impeding the work of contractors and urged that it is rolled out soon in order to facilitate the work of contractors and to meet agricultural targets.
"There's talk that the Government are mapping the country. I would've thought that it would've been done before now, but if not, get on with it and where we haven't got any broadband or very little broadband, get it in there first, so that we can at least use some smart farming and when we move to other areas, then we can increase the speeds," he urged.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan also pointed out that the urban/rural divide would only deepen if the National Broadband Plan isn't rolled out soon.