Monday 19 November 2018

Out of order: Sligo shopkeepers count the cost of slow connection

 

Slow lane: Gerry and Irene Rice at their corner shop in Maugherow, Co Sligo. Photo: Damien Eagers
Slow lane: Gerry and Irene Rice at their corner shop in Maugherow, Co Sligo. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ryan Nugent

Simple tasks such as taking card payments or processing Lotto tickets are at times impossible for shop owners in rural parts of the country.

Gerry and Irene Rice moved back to the west of Ireland after decades living in London, to give their two young children a better upbringing.

The pair opened a local shop, Dunleavys - the Corner Shop, eight months ago, but had never envisaged network connections being an issue in running their business.

The shop serves a rural community in Maugherow, Co Sligo - but slow or no download speeds make the process a whole lot more difficult.

Gerry said there had been issues, including where they were without service for more than 24 hours.

"We came back here to rural Ireland to bring up our kids rather than in a busy city, we just wanted a slower pace of life and a more enjoyable childhood for the kids," he said.

Slow lane: Gerry and Irene Rice at their corner shop in Maugherow, Co Sligo. Photo: Damien Eagers
Slow lane: Gerry and Irene Rice at their corner shop in Maugherow, Co Sligo. Photo: Damien Eagers

"I was surprised to see how rural Ireland has been affected and how much hadn't progressed while I'd been away.

"We use the network on a daily basis for the card payment system, for the Lottery for bill pay, for everything.

"If it goes down here, if we have an internet shutdown here, it has a massive knock-on effect.

"People coming through the door, strangers or people you know - a lot of people nowadays, probably about 60pc, are paying by card and if they're only able to pay by card we're losing business or we're going to have to give them credit or turn strangers away," he added.

Irene said the system had cut them off completely a number of times.

"Or else it's really slow. And then the customer gets embarrassed because they feel like their card is not going to go through and it's not their card at all," she said.

"We have to explain it's not you it's the machine, it might take four or five minutes to accept a transaction."

Gerry said that at times it may work fast and perfectly - as when he shows the process of processing a Lotto quick pick - but on other occasions it could take a considerable length of time.

The difference is huge compared to city life in London, and the family feel it when they're at home.

Downloading a movie on their Sky TV box - due to slow speeds - can take up to two days to complete.

Irish Independent

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