Sunday 19 November 2017

Broadband highway is blocked to rural dwellers

We are heading back to a tale of two Irelands, with "haves" and "have-nots". This time the issue is the provision of good broadband links. Last week, the Government blithely told us that the commitment to broadband with minimum speeds of 30 megabits per second is being changed to the weasel-sounding term "up to 30 megabits" per second.

Today, BT chief executive Colm O'Neill tells us that economics and physics make minimum 30 megabit speeds in rural areas rather unlikely. The problem centres on the dispersal of rural housing in Ireland, making distance the enemy of good high-speed links.

It is a disappointing revelation, because broadband is to rural Ireland what electrification was in past generations. Remote areas cannot hope to overcome their various disadvantages without good broadband links.

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