The need for immediate action to be taken on the issue of high seed broadband access in rural areas and in the West of Ireland in particular is highlighted in an IBEC report published yesterday (Thursday). In the report Rosccommon is the county with the worst high speed internet access in the country at 36%. It is worth noting that the figure for Dublin is 99% and that the average figure nationally is 57%.
I have raised this issue constantly since I was elected and I have recieved critisism for doing so and I want to quote directly from this report.
It says “Roscommon was found to have the worst connectivity, with just 36% of premises having access to high-speed broadband. Counties in the west of the country generally had worse broadband access than those in the east. The connectivity in Leitrim was 40%, while the figure was also 40% in Mayo”
The report goes on to say-
“The requirement for state intervention rises as you move westwards across the country, with the western region having the most premises within the planned intervention area. The digital economy plays an increasingly crucial role in the exchange of goods and services. Insufficient broadband connectivity leaves local businesses and householders at a significant disadvantage.”
Remember that those words are not mine but those of an official IBEC report. We have seen the launch of a major Rural Development Plan in recent weeks that promises to create 135,000 jobs over the term of the plan. What I am saying all along is that we need to put the proper infrastructure in place first and no modern employer, even if it is a small enterprise, will be able to do their business if there is not a proper broadband service there in the first place.
This report shows in black and white the defecit in broadband services in rural areas and in the West of Ireland in particular and it must be addressed as soon as possible.