The issue of rural broadband and how it impacts businesses in Carlow and Kilkenny has been raised in the Dáil.
The local Sinn Fein TD brought the issue to the national table after meeting with Carlow Chamber and Kilkenny Leader who outlined the situation locally. Issues outlined included one company employee having to drive from Carlow to Dublin as an email wouldn’t send.
While a Kilkenny community, town and village co-op initiative was one of the examples given as a solution.
Kathleen Funchion says many could benefit from such schemes, telling KCLR News “To me, it makes sense that the if the National Broadband Plan is not going to be rolled out to all of the areas that it should be, and that obviously should be the first thing that they look at, they should be trying to get that out everywhere but if that’s not going to happen soon for people well then we do need to look at viable alternatives and there is plans and there is solutions there and I think that could be something not just for us in Carlow and Kilkenny but also for lots of parts of the country”.
Deputy Funchion says we need to start thinking outside the box, noting “I think we just need to start getting imaginative now with situations like broadband because it is going to hamper so many businesses and it has an impact on people as well like we all saw that recently even just trying to homeschool an awful lot of children were at a disadvantage if they don’t have good proper broadband so we need to start getting plans in place for now and not years down the road”.
Junior Minister and this constituency’s Green TD Malcolm Noonan was taking the questions in place of Eamon Ryan and Deputy Funchion says an assurance came from him that they’re looking at the expansion of the co-op scheme being piloted in Kilkenny.
There’s also a review process for businesses that feel they should be included in the national broadband roll-out, but Deputy Funchion says that’s not always effective:
“I would be a little bit sceptical about that, I would hope I’m wrong, but sometimes I think with review processes they can be sort of ‘let’s throw this down the road a bit, that’s kind of the solution and at the end of the day it’s going to be a similar situation, I did ask for further information in relation how successful other places have been when they have looked for a review, are some people getting through that review process”.