Rural Clare’s future jeopardised by ‘dire broadband’

HUGE tracts of Clare are on the wrong side of the so-called ‘digital divide’ according to local politicians and business people, with concerns this is hampering economic development and will continue to do so for years to come.

Research published this week by shows that there is an average download speed in Clare of 17.4 Megabits per second (Mbps). This is the 12th quickest of the 26 counties and while this is dramatically quicker than last-placed Longford (just 7.25Mbps), it is also way behind first-placed Dublin (44.85Mbps) and also some distance behind Waterford (27.9Mbps) and Kildare (27.36Mbps).

The research also shows that Shannon, home to companies such as IT giant Intel, has an average download speed of 51.64 Mbps, the eighth quickest city or town in Ireland.

While the figure in Shannon is almost three times quicker than the average for the county, there is no doubt that many rural areas are experiencing much slower speeds.

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said the relatively healthy average figure for Clare masks a lot of problems.

“We have good broadband in parts of Ennis and other urban areas. That’s fine and it meets the business needs there. But averages hide the true facts. There are small businesses all over Clare, whether they be shops or pubs or farms, that need access to the internet. There are many families whose children need access to the internet for projects for school, for college work and they find it impossible to get adequate download speeds.”

It seems like broadband has been an issue for rural Ireland for an eternity, but Deputy Dooley warned that things are still moving too slowly.

“The sad thing about it is there is no end in sight. Notwithstanding that the Government have had a national broadband strategy/plan underway since 2012, we still don’t have a tender document circulated to appoint a company or group of companies to deliver it. There is going to be a lead-in time to roll this broadband out and there is now talk that it could take four to five years. All the while, technology is changing and content requires faster download speeds. We are way behind the European index on this.”

He contrasted the roll-out of broadband with the rural electrification scheme in the 20th Century. “When you look at the electrification of Ireland, nobody said that if you lived out on the top of a hill in Inagh or in Ogonnelloe or Broadford or Cooraclare, you should get a lesser voltage than people in places like Ennis or Kilrush or Shannon. What we’re saying at the moment is that it is ok for Ennis to have 220 volts in electrical terms and it is ok for people in rural areas to have 10 volts.”

Read the full story here :

By Owen Ryan


Kerry Slowest in Munster for Average Broadband Speed

Economic development in rural Kerry remains hobbled by shockingly poor broadband speeds which are the slowest in the entire province, a new survey of average internet connection speeds in Ireland has shown.

The survey conducted among 27,000 internet users nationally by website shows that people living on rural Kerry are forced to contend with some of the slowest broadband download speeds in the entire country when trying to conduct business or use the internet for leisure.

Kerry is ranked the tenth slowest county in the Republic. The findings of the survey echo a study conducted by The Kerryman in June which found that most of the townlands in Kerry – outside of the main urban centres of Tralee, Killarney, Listowel and Dingle – are struggling on broadband that is far slower than the minimum target speed per household under the Government’s National Broadband Plan; the realisation of which has now been delayed until 2022 at the earliest, following an initial deadline of 2020.

Only Monaghan and Wexford were faring worse than Kerry in our July survey of internet speed, which found an average download speed of 8.6 megabits per second (Mbs) across the county.’s survey published this week found Kerry’s average broadband speed, taking the large urban centres into consideration, is at 14.02Mbs.

One politician here blasted the provision:

“It’s simply not acceptable that homeowners and business owners in Kerry are being forced to work with speeds averaging 14Mbps,” Fianna Fáil Kerry Deputy John Brassil told the Kerryman on Tuesday.

“Let’s be quite clear – businesses in Kerry are competing, not only with their neighbours in Limerick, but with companies in Dublin, where the average speed was recorded at 45mbps.”

“The speeds being made available to communities in Kerry are 53% less than the commitments made by the current Government that everywhere in the country will be able to access broadband at 30mbps at a minimum,” Deputy Brassil added.


Longford broadband ‘not spot’

News that Legan, Co Longford has the slowest broadband speed  in the country has not come as a surprise to locals.

In new data, released by comparison site Switcher, it was revealed that Longford’s broadband is the slowest in the country, with an average speed of 7.25Mbps. The slowest broadband area was Legan, with an average download speed of 1.98Mbps, compared to the 72.15Mbps recorded by the fastest area in the country; Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

It was further revealed that Legan’s broadband speed is almost 12 times slower than the national average.

“Broadband has been an issue in south Longford for years,” revealed Legan native, Cllr Paul Ross.

“We are not surprised to see what has come out in the media today as it has been a problem for years.”

Cllr Ross said such was the slow nature of the broadband speed, a local grocery store was unable to facilitate customers in their attempts to pay for their bin service charges.

“Mulleady’s use a top up system but the local shop in Legan can’t provide that because the laser company Mulleady’s work with use a fixed line broadband connection and we (Legan) haven’t got that.”

Cllr Ross said the absence of such a service was not only hindering local businesses in their efforts to make ends meet, but was also forcing local homeowners to do their shopping elsewhere. The Fine Gael councillor said of more immediate concern was the fact some some former parishioners had been forced to sell their homes in a bid to access higher broadband speeds.

“Every house in this day and age needs broadband especially when children are now using iPads at school and more people are using Facebook, emails and downloading various types of data.

“And I know of two families who had been commuting to Dublin and looked to work one day a week at home but who sold their house because they can’t do their work from home,” he said.

For more on this, see


Slow Cork Broadband

DROMAHANE in north Cork was ranked as one of the five worst locations in the country for broadband speed.

The village has a broadband speed of 5.28Mbs, much slower than the Cork average of 17.08Mbs. Dublin has by far the fastest broadband speed, averaging 44.85mbs. One-in-three people say they may have to move to counties in Ireland to get better broadband.

The Vodafone poll also revealed that 70% of small Irish firms have rated their broadband infrastructure as poor.

A separate study from website carried out 26,829 tests and found that a third of customers had speeds of less than 5Mbs per second, leaving them unable to perform even some basic online tasks.

Catch the full article in the Evening Echo.


Disgrace of rural broadband as one in three struggles just to get email

Shocking broadband surveys suggest there is a crisis in rural areas, with large parts of the country at breaking point due to unusable connections.

A survey of 27,000 internet users revealed that some areas of Ireland are struggling with speeds insufficient to load email messages or perform basic Google searches.

A separate poll from Vodafone suggests that more than one in three Irish people said they might have to relocate to a nearby town or city for work reasons if connectivity remains poor.

In all, more than one in three of the 26,829 tests logged by showed download speeds of under five megabits per second (Mbs), which is inadequate to perform most online tasks in a typical household or small business.

The worst area in Ireland is Legan in Longford, which has an average download speed of under 2Mbs, according to the survey. The Longford townland is 36 times slower than parts of Dublin, where download speeds average up to 72Mbs.

It comes after a separate Vodafone survey claimed that seven out of 10 small Irish firms were being held back by poor broadband infrastructure.

Catch the full article here on –

Article by Adrian Weckler


Virgin Media Ireland prices will increase from January

Typical bundle will cost €4 more a month from new year as broadband bills rise again.

Virgin Media Ireland is putting its prices up in January for the second time in less than a year for many of its subscribers.

The broadband, cable television and telecoms provider is in the process of informing its customers of the price rises by email or letter.

Broadband prices will rise by €2.50 a month, while the cost of television packages will climb by €1.50 a month. Subscribers with television and broadband bundles will see their bills go up by €4 a month, Virgin Media said.

Virgin broadband bundle subscribers previously saw their bills increase by €5 in March, meaning their bills will have increased by €9 a month when the new prices kick in from January.

Catch the full article here in the Irish Times.
– Story by Laura Slattery


New digital hub to be developed in Cavan Town

Plans are advancing to develop a ‘Digital Hub’ in Cavan Town with a view to nurturing tech-based start-ups, providing supports for existing businesses in the county and ultimately creating jobs as establishing Cavan as a leading location in this field.

The Anglo-Celt understands that a deal to secure a location for the digital hub is nearing conclusion with some sources suggesting that the Cavan Further Education and Training campus (former army barracks) on the Dublin Road is among the contenders.

Aimed at promoting job creation and innovation, the proposed hub is a major factor in the county’s ‘Digital Strategy’, of which Cavan County Council and Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board are key stakeholders.

This newspaper understands that substantive groundwork has already been done, with entrepreneurs and digital ambassadors with connections to the region, all sounded out for their input.

From ‘Get Connected’ networking events earlier this year, several companies, including one with links to California, are understood to have expressed keen interest in setting up in the county should the hub get up and running.

Boosted by the fact that Cavan was chosen as one of 10 towns to be among Ireland’s first Gigabit towns or ‘fibrehoods’ under SIRO’s 1GB Broadband Network, the aim is to emulate the success of the first rurally-based digital hub the Ludgate in Skibbereen, west Cork, which was officially opened in July of this year. Pioneering in the fast-paced world of new tech start-up, within weeks of the Ludgate opening, it had 20 permanent tenants and more than 100 members who use it on a part-time basis. Up to half of those are employees of large multinationals such as Google, Facebook and Pfizer working in the city.

“Success breeds success,” says Richard Stafford of Apridata Limited, a Cavan-based data analysis and data management solutions. He believes a dedicated base for digital business workers in the county would help spearhead a digital revolution within the county.

Catch the full article here in the Anglo Celt.
– Story by Seamus Enright


You can take the Web Summit out of Ireland…

The Web Summit got off to a mixed start in Lisbon tonight when the venue’s wifi cut out on stage just as founder Paddy Cosgrave tried a live demonstration..

“I don’t think it’s working,” said Mr Cosgrave from the stage in front of an estimated 15,000 attendees.

Video By: Alan Weckler

“Let’s not worry about that. We’ll try again later.”

The glitch came just as Cosgrave was introducing the Portugese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa.

A later attempt at performing the onstage demonstration succeeded.

A spokeswoman for the Web Summit later said that the initial demonstration did not fail because of wifi but because of “a glitch in Paddy’s phone”.

Wifi strength has been the bane of the Web Summit’s existence in its seven years since it originally kicked off as a small conference of 400 people in Dublin.

Two years ago, the wifi collapsed in the RDS causing a debate between Web Summit organisers and the venue.

This year’s event was forced to delay its kickoff by 30 minutes after a surge of late entrants. Mr Cosgrave said that 3,000 people didn’t make it into the 15,000-seater Meo arena, where the conference’s main stage is located.

Catch the full article here in the Irish Independent
– Copyright Adrian Weckler


Aer Lingus to provide wifi on short-haul flights

Airline’s parent IAG to roll-out 4G services next year, with goal of 90% of fleet by 2019

Aer Lingus is to introduce high-speed inflight wifi for passengers on short-haul flights from next year after agreeing a deal with provider Inmarsat.

The airline’s parent International Airlines Group (IAG) said up to 341 of its aircraft, including 39 Aer Lingus A320s, will be fitted with Inmarsat’s next generation services to provide a 4G broadband network for passengers. The service will give passengers broadband internet access across multiple mobile devices with connection speeds similar to what they have at home.

The first short-haul aircraft equipped with wifi connectivity – a British Airways A321 – will be in service next summer. Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vuelingaircraft will follow later in 2017.

IAG said it is aiming to have wifi connectivity available on 90 per cent of its fleet of 541 aircraft by 2019.

Catch the full article here in the Irish Times.
– Copyright Charlie Taylor



For just over quarter (27%) of people, loneliness is the biggest fear about growing old in their community.

Safety and security (22%) and lack of access to health services (21%) also featured prominently. Fear of isolation is more is more of a concern in urban areas (33% compared to 21% in rural areas) with lack of medical facilities more of a concern in rural areas (27% in rural versus just 14% in urban). The research which was conducted by Calor and Macra Ne Feirme marks the launch of the ‘Know Your Neighbour’ winter campaign.

The campaign encourages people, all over the country, to reach out to their neighbours. This is particularly important during the winter when almost two thirds (63%) of people feel it if more important to have a stronger sense of community during dark winter evenings.

Other findings from the Know your Neighbour research included:

The biggest concerns of those living in rural communities is the lack of access to broadband (21%), followed by lack of opportunity to progress (14%), emigration of younger community members (13%) and the welfare and safety of elderly community members (13%).

Catch the full article in the Western People  |  Monday, 31 October 2016  |  Page: 49