As we all know, many of our more rural towns and villages have been hit very hard in the last few years. Small enterprises, retailers and businesses in towns right across the country have been transformed by the mismanagement of years gone by. One tool which can help them get up off their knees and compete again is broadband connectivity. That’s why I am glad to see that my home of Claremorris has been chosen for a major investment, which will see it become the first 250Mbs fibre broadband town.
As many here know, almost one-third of jobs were lost in Claremorris during the years running up to 2011.
Claremorris has begun fighting back with almost 200 businesses now employing 1,200 people. It will allow Claremorris to compete for start-up companies and small IT companies. It’s a significant game changer.
With a 250 megabyte always-on connection, businesses will no longer have to worry about downtime, disconnections or not being able to download or upload images, files, etc in a timely fashion. This will give businesses flexibility, will empower rural businesses to compete with others right around the world, and will put them on the world stage when it comes to e-commerce. One initiative, Getting Irish Business Online, has consistently highlighted that of the €4billion spent online in Ireland, only €1billion is spent with Irish retailers. This gives us remarkable room for improvement.
It will also allow existing businesses, retail and otherwise, to increase their presence online and begin working on their own e-commerce solutions. It is a significant boost, and one which I hope will be rolled out in further rural towns and villages in the months ahead.