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.

Broadband deficit is holding back farming

Broadband deficit is holding back farming.

Irish farming is in danger of being left behind its European counterparts because of poor or non-existent high-speed broadband, contractors have warned.

Tom Murphy from the Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland (PAC) said smart farming will form part of the future of agriculture.

“If we don’t have the broadband then talking about smart farming is just a joke. We must have broadband as otherwise we can’t transmit the information back from the field. Agriculture is the biggest business by far in rural Ireland and it needs high-speed broadband and without it Irish farming will be left behind.

“If farmers and contractors don’t embrace smart farming then they’ll be left behind. It isn’t Star Wars anymore, it is reality, they are doing it on the continent and the UK and we are only scratching the surface here,” said Mr Murphy ahead of the PAC Smart Farming event at the Newpark Hotel Kilkenny on February 2.

The event will be addressed by Commissioner Phil Hogan and Communications Minister Denis Naughten on the rollout of high-speed broadband, and many international machinery experts.

Mr Murphy said many farmers would not be in a financial position to invest in the hi-tech equipment and it was likely they would turn to contractors for it.

He pointed out some farmers were already turning to hi-tech spraying and slurry-spreading technology to help cut costs by only spreading fertiliser where necessary.

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

Ireland rises in world internet speed rankings but 57th for mobile

The world’s internet speeds rose by more than 30 per cent this year, according to a new report that shows Ireland is currently performing better than the global average for both mobile and fixed broadband connectivity.

Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, which measures internet performance in more than 120 countries, ranks Ireland 34th in the world for fixed broadband connectivity speeds, up four places.

The Republic was ranked in 57th spot for mobile, an increase of three spots versus the last survey.

While Ireland’s ranking has improved over the year, it is worth noting that some 119 countries performed better than the global average. Internet connectivity here remains patchy to say the least, with those living in rural areas facing significant issues getting online.

A report earlier this year found that in an analysis of 63 million broadband speed tests internationally by broadband speed comparison site cable.co.uk, Ireland was only 36th among a range of countries. We trailed 25 European counterparts.

Ireland’s average fixed broadband speed average was 42 Mbps, with mobile at 20.70Mbps. The current global average for fixed broadband is 40.11Mbps download and 19.96 upload. Mobile is 20.28 Mbps download, and 8.65 Mbps upload.

Uploads

During 2017, global fixed broadband downloads jumped 31.6 per cent on average, while uploads gaining 25.9 per cent. Mobile speeds rose 30.1 per cent, with uploads increasing by 38.9 per cent..

At present Norway has the fastest mobile networks in the world with an average speed of 62.66Mbps, while Netherlands is second on 53.01Mbps. Iceland (52.78Mbps), Singapore (51.50Mbps) and Malta (50.46Mbps) round out the top five.

Singapore leads the rankings in fixed broadband with average speeds of 153.85Mbps, followed by Iceland, which jumped one place to second with 147.51Mbps, Hong Kong is third with 133.94Mbps, South Korea is fourth with 127.45Mbps and Romania is fifth with 104.46Mbps.

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

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.

innovation - imagine lte

How does Ireland rank in terms of data innovation in the EU?

A new report from the Center For Data Innovation ranks EU countries in terms of how effectively they are harnessing the power of data.

Key EU data innovators

The top five countries in the EU that are the most innovative when it comes to their data are: the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark, the latter snagging the No 1 spot. Ireland scraped into the top 10 at No 8, ahead of Malta but behind Austria.

The lowest-ranking countries in the EU are: Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Cyprus. Each of the lowest-ranking countries has a lower GDP per capita than the EU average but, according to the report, there is a notable correlation between corruption levels and the final data innovation score.

Three key recommendations

Three goals were outlined by the authors of the report to enable greater data innovation in EU countries. The first is to maximise the supply of reusable data.

Notably, the centre said administrations should both avoid laws and regulations that stifle the supply and flow of data, such as “overly burdensome data protection rules” and data localisation policies in different member states; and increase the supply of data, via open data and freedom of information policies.

Governments should also improve infrastructure that supports data innovation. Administrations should encourage the development of key technological platforms that enable data innovation, such as broadband, digital public services, smart meters and smart cities.

Finally, the centre said that development of data science and literacy skills in workers should be paramount throughout the education system and professional training programmes.

How did Ireland fare?

In terms of Ireland in particular, it missed out entirely on the data economy top 14, which measures the relative value of data market demand and data company revenues. No 1 here was Estonia, which makes sense given the many years the country has spent pushing the digitisation of its public administration.

Ireland didn’t make the top 14 for data market size, which measures the member states’ data market demand as a GDP percentage. The No 1 here was, again, Estonia. Ireland also missed out on the top 14 for open-data policy implementation.

Ireland’s businesses ranked below those in Cyprus, the Czech Republic and more in terms of adequate broadband support, but it did beat out the UK by four places. For domestic broadband, Ireland landed at N0 8, while Sweden took the top spot.

In the workforce data knowledge and skills rankings, Ireland came in at 14 out of the 28 member states, with Romania coming in last. Finland was the victor here.

Catch the full article here.