19 May 2022

Urgent meeting needed on broadband provision in Leitrim

Farm groups welcome roll out of broadband for rural Ireland

Leitrim County Councillors are seeking a meeting with those responsible for the rollout of the National Broadband Plan noting “a high speed broadband service is essential to attract further investment in the West of Ireland.”
Cllr Sean McGowan told the March Council meeting that broadband is critical for encouraging people to invest, live and work in Leitrim.
He asked that an update be provided by National Broadband Ireland on the amount of properties currently connected in the county and delivery dates for the rollout across the rest of the county.
Cllr Mary Bohan backed the motion but said instead of a written update “we would have somebody here to explain (the broadband rollout update) to us.”
“It is ludicrous what's happening. We are supposed to have high speed broadband in Drumkeerin and when (the installation) was finished we discovered there wasn't high speed broadband in the village at all, it was on the outskirts,” she said.
She said this was especially difficult for the village as the community was trying to promote the use of its enterprise centre.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Paddy O'Rourke observed at the last meeting on the broadband rollout members were “shown grandiose maps” but little has happened.
Cllr Felim Gurn pointed out a similar problem had happened in Manorhamilton where he had been told there wasn't space in the cabinet on the Manorhamilton system for his business to obtain broadband.
“Fibre Optic cable was laid down in Manorhamilton. It was one of the first towns to do this and 15 years later that still isn't connected,” he said.
Cllr Padraig Fallon said there was a great deal of misinformation in regard to broadband provision.
“It is quite ridiculous, I am with Eir now the last number of months but they told me for years that I couldn't get it,” he said. “It was only by talking to those working on the ground that I discovered I could get connected.”
Cllr Brendan Barry pointed out there are two elements here; the National Broadband Plan and the braodband provided by Eir.
He said that under the National Broadband Plan, which applies to those premises requiring State intervention to receive broadband, a lot of Leitrim is not due to be connected until 2025-2026.
The Sinn Féin councillor accused Eir of cherry picking the areas it was opting to cover in its part of the rollout.
Cllr Justin Warnock also backed the call for a meeting noting “we've had two years of lockdown. We need this delivered and we need it delivered now. People want to work remotely and we have to facilitate that,” he said.
Director of Services, Joseph Gilhooly, acknowledged that there is a “very fragmented scenario” and accepted there is confusion around the National Broadband rollout.
He said that part of the fragmentation of provision is at local level where locations should be covered by existing operators but they aren't.
“If broadband cannot be delivered by a carrier in the open market then it should be in the broadband rollout.”
He also noted that, when dealing with broadband provision from Eir, the best course of action is to provide house Eircodes, not the general townlands.
“They are very site specific,” he told councillors.

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