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7th May 2020
Source: Leitrim Observer Reporter
Sligo-Leitrim TD, Frank Feighan has said that difficulties faced by some workers with their broadband speeds and access whilst working remotely during the Covid-19 outbreak emphasises the obvious and urgent need for greater broadband connectivity in rural Ireland.
Deputy Feighan said “Many people are now working from home in instances where they never would have done before. Initially it was challenging to come to terms with new workplace surroundings and with all the technological requirements needed at home. However, for the most part, as things have settled down during the outbreak workers have been able to work from home easily and they have largely enjoyed the experience.
“As a result, there is now a new opportunity for businesses and for families alike to experience a new and better work life balance when Covid-19 subsides and when work returns to normal. I believe this will be one of the very few positives Irish society will gain from this challenging time and the ‘new normal’ period ahead," he said.
Deputy Feighan said the changes in the workplace as a result of the virus has also led many people to reconsider the possibility of moving to rural Ireland while being able to work remotely in their urban based offices.
However, he stressed the need to ensure high speed broadband access if such a move is to become a reality.
He said he had been contacted by people who were concerned about the lack of access and very slow speeds in certain areas outside of the commercial areas and inside the State Intervention Area identified in the National Broadband Plan.
“We witnessed last year that the delivery of our National Broadband Plan, the overall project costs and its viability was made into a political football by those who are now calling for greater access across the country," pointed out Deputy Feighan.
"Broadband access is as important today as electricity was to the home 60 years ago and I’m glad that to see that it is now clear for all to see that the National Broadband Plan should be delivered and I look forward to this been discussed in the Programme for Government discussions taking place this week."
During the Covid-19 crisis, it is to become clearer than ever the need for rural broadband is not a frivolous desire for entertainment but essential for the business. The aim of the new government’s strategy to secure rural employment and entrepreneurship must be two-fold.READ MORE
The ComReg survey – which was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes – shows that 77% of broadband users have seen an increase in the usage of their home broadband service since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. This figure has increased from 61% in April 2020 when the survey was last conducted, highlighting the growing reliance on home broadband services.READ MORE
In Wexford, there are 22,175 premises in the Intervention Area (IA), which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates tp 27 per cent on all premises in the country.READ MORE