This week I spoke on the crucial issue of rural broadband, particularly the low quality or lack of broadband that a significant portion of the country experiences.
A new study released today revealed that broadband speeds can be up to 36 times slower in some parts of the country compared to others.
It gathered data from 27,000 speed tests run by consumers between 1 August 2015 and 31 July last.
Black spots include Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford and parts of North Tipperary.
I have raised this issue previously but was quite taken aback by the new research which revealed that:
1 in 3 rural businesses are considering relocating to cities due to unreliable broadband service. This in itself is a totally unacceptable state of affairs – but there is also the wider societal impact.
Most public services have moved online including social services. Health services which should be moved on line are being held up by this lack of reliable broadband in certain rural areas. Children of Farmers living in broad band black spots are missing out educationally as they have no access to the internet.
Meanwhile young people are being denied vital mental health on line services such as spun out .ie
Although I welcome Minister Naughton’s commitment that within two years that proper, reliable broadband will be available everywhere within 2.5 years -this commitment was first made by Minister Rabbitte .