2 December 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

“We need broadband now – rural Ireland is dying…Young people can’t come home to study at the weekends because there is no broadband.”

The comments of one of the contributors from the floor at Tuesday’s meeting in the Hillgrove Hotel to provide information for the Monaghan business community on rural broadband availability was eloquent of the frustration and impatience evident among the wider audience at the time it is taking to address the county’s broadband deficits.

A straw poll taken of those present showed a considerable number of the view that improved broadband services would be needed by them in the next six months.

Representatives of Government and private sector interests who addressed the event, organised by the Monaghan IT Forum in conjunction with Monaghan Co Council, acknowledged the urgent need to bring better broadband to Co Monaghan in order to facilitate economic growth – but made clear that the delivery of it is going to take time.

Ciara Bates of the Rural Broadband Section of Heather Humphreys’ Dept of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, said that the Government’s National Broadband Plan would have to cover 97% of the country’s landmass, and likened the scope of its ambition to the rural electrification programme of the 1950s.

Paul Bradley, Director of Corporate Affairs with Eir, insisted that his company was doing more than any other private provider to address the need to bring high-speed broadband to rural locations – but also detailed the technical difficulties attached to the work.

After those present were welcomed by Monaghan Co Council’s Director of Economic and Community Services Paul Clifford, Claire Cunningham, Chairperson of the Monaghan IT Forum, said the purpose of her organisation was to bring interested parties together to work on the area of IT in Monaghan. “We have been lobbying on the subject of broadband for 19 years,” Ms Cunningham pointed out.

The Forum’s aim was to promote IT use in the county and they had been working on events to further this objective for a number of years. They also organised an annual “e-tail is retail” seminar to explore e-commerce and selling online, which was one of the ways forward in relation to business.
“Monaghan is one of the most progressive counties in relation to e-commerce and selling on line among SMEs,” she stated. The Forum also mapped IT infrastructure in Co Monaghan.

“Monaghan is a dynamic rural county with a very entrepreneurial spirit,” Ms Cunningham remarked. “If companies are going to create new jobs, it will be very dependent on good IT infrastructure and broadband.”

Economic Development Officer of Monaghan Co Council Máire Cullinan outlined the results of a survey …

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