Rural firms on the wrong side of digital divide losing out on huge opportunities
At the Chamber of Commerce in Ennis, which represents rural businesses, we see firsthand every day how dependent on their connection to the rest of Ireland and the wider world our members are.
For them, broadband is an absolute economic necessity, not a luxury. The ability of rural Ireland to connect with customers and suppliers is crucial in the information age for businesses of all sizes. Customers are unforgiving on issues such as slow response times, a poor web presence, no online payments, booking or review systems. Customers expect these services from all business, rurally based or not. It doesn't factor in their minds that a company might have an incredibly poor connection, it simply reflects badly on the business and how it is run.
Not being able to manage these things can lead to reputational damage and a serious competitive disadvantage for businesses.