The far-reaching positive impacts of broadband must be extended to rural Ireland without delay, IFA Director of Organisation James Kelly said at the launch of a pilot fibre broadband programme in Belcarra, Mayo.
“Inadequate broadband service continues to undermine the enterprise potential of rural Ireland. The IFA is continually pressing this issue with both Government and Industry.,” said Mr Kelly.
“The National Broadband Plan is a welcome commitment from Government to prioritise rural broadband, and the high level of industry interest is very encouraging. The Government must now begin the tendering process and make the needed investment to deliver a high-speed, future-proofed solution to rural homes, farms and businesses.”
The pilot fibre broadband programme running in Belcarra by Eircom Wholesale shows the positive effects and potential that are achievable for farm families and businesses, Mr Kelly said: “It is very clear from our engagement with farmers on the programme in Belcarra that the adoption and use of ICT brings clear benefits in increased productivity and efficiencies at farm level. We also know that farmers all over the country want to embrace the opportunities ICT brings but find themselves restricted from many innovation opportunities due to poor or no broadband access.”
Alongside the benefits to individuals, families, and businesses, broadband access also has the potential to have huge social and economic impacts: “The National Broadband Plan presents a real opportunity to finally address the digital divide.
“Creating a level playing pitch on broadband access can create jobs and rejuvenate rural Ireland; it can encourage new enterprise and investment in rural Ireland; and, support diversification and expansion of existing businesses.”