The roll-out of high-speed broadband to over 21,000 businesses and homes in County Wexford has moved a step closer with the Government announcement that work on the contract for the National Broadband Plan is well progressed.
National Broadband Ireland (NBI) are the preferred bidder for the contract and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has indicated that he would like to see the contract signed by the time of the National Ploughing Championships in mid-September this year. The first homes could be connected by early autumn next year once the contract is closed.
Wexford is to receive an investment of €86 million to provide fibre broadband to 21,761 businesses and households in the Intervention Area. This is a mapped area of rural Ireland where high speed broadband is currently not commercially available and it encompasses over half a million premises, including 56,000 farms and 44,000 businesses.
In County Wexford, this includes areas such as Ballyroebuck, Askamore, Raheen and Palace. In total, 26% of all premises in Wexford will be passed and eligible for connection.
High speed broadband should revolutionise working and home life for many who have had limited or congested connectivity up to now.
David Minogue, Senior Executive Officer of Wexford County Council welcomed the news, saying that the NBP represents a very significant investment in Wexford's economic and social infrastructure and will ensure that much-needed high speed broadband is finally available to all parts of the county.
'The roll-out is particularly good news for the many homes and business premises throughout County Wexford, which, in this digital era, continue to be adversely affected by a lack of high-speed broadband'.
'With its capacity to support remote working and encourage the development of locally-based businesses, high-speed broadband has the potential to transform Wexford's economy and vastly improve the quality of life for those who have chosen Wexford as their home and the place where they wish to do business', he said.
Wexford businessman Des Doyle of Cooney Furlong said that apart from the usual need that any business has, the group of companies including Target Fertilisers Ltd, Walter Furlong Grain Ltd, CF Trading Ltd, The Cooney Furlong Machinery Company and the Cooney Furlong Grain Co. Ltd, has a greater need as the software package they use is accessed through a cloud server requiring a constant live internet connection.
'Our head office is based in Dranagh, Caim, Enniscorthy. There are currently 91 employees in the group which rises seasonally each year during the harvest'.
'To work from our current location without a reliable internet connection is very difficult and at times unworkable. With this in mind, we welcome the latest news regarding the investment commitment and move toweards securing high-speed broadband across Wexford'.
'The fact that many Wexford premises still don't have access to high-speed internet is creating huge problems in this digital era, highlighting the divide between rural and urban life', he said.