75,000 Cork homes & businesses suffering because of delays in rolling National Broadband Plan – McGrath

75,000 homes and businesses in Cork are without high-speed broadband

Cork South Central Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath has said the government needs to press ahead with the National Broadband Plan following confirmation that 75,000 homes and businesses in Cork are without high-speed broadband – and in many cases any broadband at all – because of the government delays.

Deputy McGrath was commenting after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten which shows that there are 270,000 premises (including residential and business premises) in Cork, including 75,000 who will completely rely on the State-led intervention for access to high-quality broadband internet.

Deputy McGrath commented, “I am receiving regular complaints from constituents about the lack of good quality broadband and in some cases any broadband at all. This often includes people who are actually living close to a town centre. They have been badly let down by the government.

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How the loss of net neutrality could change the internet

Supporters of the repeal say it will free up internet providers to innovate, while opponents fear the online world will become more like cable TV.

The repeal of net neutrality ushers in a new chapter of the internet that could eventually transform the way Americans communicate, shop and consume information online.

The Federal Communications Commission’s party-line vote Thursday to dump the Obama-era rules, which required internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally, opens the door for companies like Verizon and AT&T to experiment with new business models free from government regulation.

ISPs point to an array of possible pro-consumer outcomes like “family friendly” broadband packages that block content not suitable for children, or guaranteed fast speeds for health-related mobile applications. But net neutrality advocates paint an array of troubling scenarios — from smaller websites like the crafts marketplace Etsy and streaming service Vimeo forced to pay tolls to reach consumers, to cable giants like Comcast blocking or slowing disfavored sites while giving priority to their own content.

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Number of people using internet banking in Ireland more than doubles in 10 years

The number of Irish people using internet banking has more than doubled in the space of ten years.

In 2007 one in four Irish people used internet banking, while today this figure is much higher at 58pc, according to data from Eurostat.

When it comes to using the internet banking service, Irish people are slightly ahead of the European Union (EU) average of 51pc, an average figure that has also doubled in the ten year period.

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From April 2018 Eir Price Hike To Effect Majority of Its Customers

eircom Announces Price Changes

eircom has announced plans to implement a number of prices changes for residential and business customers. The price changes will be reflected in customer bills from mid April onwards and the company is notifying all impacted customers in writing. The changes are across three main areas including monthly subscription fees for bundles, call set up fees and per minute call rates for calls outside of a bundle or for customers who are charged base rates. Line rental is not impacted.

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9 of the best mesh Wi-Fi network kits

A new type of Wi-Fi router has emerged: the mesh network.

Here we round up the best mesh Wi-Fi systems that all promise whole-home wireless coverage.

Although mesh networks aren’t a new invention, this is the first year that they’ve become popular for home use. We’ve reviewed many of the new systems available in the UK including Google Wi-Fi and BT Whole Home.

What is mesh Wi-Fi?

Put simply, a mesh network is two or more routers which work together to provide much wider Wi-Fi coverage than a single router can.
Some kits have just two units and can’t be expanded, while others can be bought in one, two or three-packs and allow you to add extra coverage when you can afford it, or you need it.

Are powerline adaptors a cheaper alternative?

Yes. If you just need to get a Wi-Fi signal in one room that your current router can’t reach, you might be able to save money by buying a Wi-Fi-enabled powerline kit.

To learn more make, sure you click here and check out Jim Martin’s (Editor of Tech Advisor) reviews.

Taoiseach called on to clarify roll-out of national broadband plan.

Taoiseach called on to clarify roll-out of national broadband plan.

There are calls for ’straight-talking’ from the Taoiseach over the roll-out of the national broadband plan.

Over half a million people around the country are thought to be waiting for high-speed connections.

Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley says it is time for Leo Varadkar to intervene and bring clarity to these people.

“I think it is time for the Taoiseach, as head of government – who is recognised as a straight-talker and certainly identified himself as a straight-talker in the past – to come forward and identify for those 540,000 business and home-owners across the State when they can expect to see the contract signed in the first instance, when the work will begin and when the project can be brought to a conclusion,” said Deputy Dooley.

The need for high-speed broadband is as basic now as the need for a phone-line was in the past, according to Mr Dooley.

“In order to do your daily business, your daily banking, you required access to high-speed broadband,” he said.

“There are many families where the children to do their schoolwork need access to the internet in the evening.

“Students coming home from college at the weekend and want to do their reports, the farming community need it, small businesses need it.

“It is as basic now as electricity was 50-60 years ago or what a phone line was 40 years ago.”

Catch the full article here in the Breaking News
– Copyright Breaking News

Mayo concerns raised over ‘flawed’ national plan

Mayo concerns raised over ‘flawed’ national plan.

OFFICIALS at the highest levels within Mayo County Council have expressed serious concern that the west and northwest will lose out badly if the strategy proposed in the National Planning Framework (Ireland 2040) is approved by the Oireachtas.

Ian Douglas, senior planner with the authority, said: “In my view, this is not a national planning framework. It is really just a framework for five big towns (Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford).

Mr. Douglas produced a map – not available on the National Planning Framework (NPF) website – which shows Mayo and most western counties in white, outside the main NPF framework.

He rejected suggestions that Mayo will benefit from the sphere of influence of Galway, claiming that the influence of the city will be in a southerly rather than northerly direction. Mr Douglas said the council had supported the case for Sligo to be given some recognition as a ‘sub regional centre’ somewhere between the larger towns and the smaller centres. In its submission to the NPF, the council highlighted the need for greater infrastructure in the region.

There seemed, Mr. Douglas added, to be no recognition in the plan of the importance of Ireland West Airport Knock as a regional driver. Mr. Douglas concluded his remarks by stating he wasn’t convinced there was a genuine consultation process. “It’s going to get political now,” he continued. “It has got political.”

John Condon, director of services, said a critical stage has been reached as regards the NPF. He appealed to councillors with connections in the Oireachtas to lobby to get the plan changed ‘in a way that would benefit us’. Councillors Al McDonnell (FF), Neil Cruise (FG) and Michael Smyth (FF), cathaoirleach, all agreed that the plan, as proposed, should be rejected.

Councillor McDonnell claimed 38% of the Mayo landmass is excluded. “This is not a national plan at all,” he protested. “It is very seriously flawed.”

The councillor also said he was worried about future restrictions on rural planning that would diminish the council’s influence as a local planning authority and destroy members’ ability to make their own discretionary county development plan. Councillor Cruise warned of a two-tier country – a first and third world nation – if the plan, as proposed, is adopted by the Oireachtas.

“We’ll be left with crumbs on the table,” he warned. Councillor Smyth agreed that the plan is ‘lopsided’. He added it is tied in with the national broadband plan which was taking too long and leaving some people in rural areas ‘high and dry’.

Catch the full article here in the Times
– Copyright The Times

Only one in five homes signs up to rural fibre broadband network.

Less than a fifth of rural customers that have been covered by Eir’s new fibre broadband network have been actually connected to the service, leading to concerns about the effectiveness of the scheme.

Eir agreed a deal in April to carve out 300,000 homes from the national broadband plan (NBP) provided it delivered fibre-power internet to those premises by the end of 2018. So far Eir has rolled out their new rural network alongside 100,000 homes in rural areas but only 16,000 customers have signed up to the service.

The €200 million network will run along 23,000 kilometers of Irish roads but homes have to be physically connected to it in order to access the service.

The Department of Communications has been criticised for not…

Catch the full article here in the Times
– Copyright The Times
taxes

Internet tax: Extra levy on Irish TV licence will be a bitter pill

Extra levy on Irish TV licence will be a bitter pill.

hould people who can’t even get broadband be expected to pay extra on their TV licence? A bitter row is brewing over the likelihood that all homeowners in Ireland will see their TV licence fee raised from €160 to €175. This is to accommodate the fact that people watch content from the internet on laptops, smartphones and other digital devices.

Ireland has been debating whether people with computers should also pay a TV licence fee for the best part of 20 years now.

The draft proposals for an upcoming Oireachtas Committee on Communications debate on the matter also include a potential “culture tax” that can be levied on internet service providers, according to a report in the Irish Independent. Proponents of the increase will argue that quality content and journalism needs to be paid for and that an increase in the TV licence to recognise the consumption of content on digital devices is needed.

Disconnected, disenfranchised and overtaxed?

But it comes at a time when connected consumers are downloading and streaming content from a myriad of sources and not only traditional outlets, such as national and local broadcasters. Some do not even have TVs any more, just broadband connections. However, is it fair to levy a broadband tax on TV owners when not every household can get quality internet access?

The public are still waiting for the National Broadband Plan to connect the approximately 550,000 homes and businesses in rural areas that require market intervention. Also, even if you can get broadband or can download content from a mobile network, it is a choice that not every homeowner will make, so why should they pay? Indeed, a senior civil servant at the Department of Communications, Mark Griffin, told a Dáil Public Accounts Committee meeting on the future of RTÉ that the “TV licence model is broken”.

Not only is it being suggested that the licence fee should increase from €160 to €175, but there is the suggestion that it should be linked with inflation in the future.

There is no doubt that public service broadcasting is a valuable service any civilised nation can provide its people. There is also no doubt that significant harm has been done to traditional media by the onset of free content and news on smartphones and the rise of pirate media via torrents. There is concern that unless media is properly funded, broadcasting in Ireland could end up going the direction of Fox News to sate commercial interests. However, applying a blanket increase on the shoulders of every homeowner, whether they use the internet or not, is not exactly clever. An alternative way should be found.

In the UK for example, a recent increase in the TV licence was made more palatable by the offer of free access to the BBC iPlayer if users submitted their TV licence number. Or perhaps a levy could be applied to existing broadband fees to support local media? However, there is no guarantee that would be any less popular than a blanket increase.

Catch the full article here in the Siliconrepublic
– Copyright Silicon Republic

Half of Irish adults would be prepared to relocate for a better broadband connection

Having a fast, strong broadband connection is so important for us that we would consider moving home for a better service.

According to the results of a recent Pure Telecom survey, half of Irish adults who experience inadequate broadband speeds would be prepared to relocate for an improved connection.

For those respondents who have broadband, three-quarters said that they are happy with their speeds, with 88pc maintaining that their home broadband speeds have remained the same or improved in the last 12 months.

Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom, said that the results show that the internet plays a massive role in people’s lives.

“Many of the people affected by poor access live in rural Ireland. We need to help our rural communities thrive – not drive them into towns and cities because of internet problems,” he said.

“We hope that the National Broadband Plan will be announced and rolled out quickly so that people can access quality internet services no matter where they live.”

The survey of just over 1,000 Irish adults also revealed that the average person spends 6 hours, 20 minutes per day using their broadband connection at home – a total of 44 hours, 23 minutes per week.

“With the rise of applications like intelligent personal assistants, as well as online streaming and TV viewing, people are spending a significant amount of their time at home online – even downloading content as they sleep in some cases,” said Mr Connell.

Earlier this year, Pure Telecom signed a €35m deal with wholesale telecoms provider Open Eir, the wholesale arm of Eir.

The deal will allow Pure Telecom to offer almost two million customers high-speed broadband and phone services via Open Eir’s network.

Catch the full story here.

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