Friday 15 December 2017

Urban rural divide highlighted by broadband access

Some 312,982 dwellings in Ireland had no internet connection at the time of the last census. (Stock picture)
Some 312,982 dwellings in Ireland had no internet connection at the time of the last census. (Stock picture)
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

More than 18pc of homes in Ireland still have no internet connection, with Leitrim emerging as the county with the lowest broadband internet access.

Some 312,982 dwellings in Ireland had no internet connection at the time of the last census.

The figures confirm a serious urban rural divide, with 76.2pc of the State's urban households having broadband compared with just 61.1pc of households in rural areas.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has the highest percentage of households with broadband internet access, at 86pc.

The rate of broadband use in private households increased from 63.8pc in 2011 to 70.7pc in 2016, with 148,125 more households having an internet connection.

Deputy Sean Sherlock, Labour's spokesperson for communications, said the Government had promised high-speed access for every household within two years, but said: "If we couldn't bridge the gap in five years, what hope do we have in two?"

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the census was "an honest evaluation of what's going on" in terms of the serious urban rural connectivity divide.

He said the situation was affecting thousands of people in rural Ireland. He revealed that young man in his constituency sat an online exam for an Army technician position, but halfway through the computer crashed and he missed out on the opportunity.

Irish Independent

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