The lack of the availability of broadband in large parts of rural Ireland has been described by Fine Gael local election candidate for the Ballaghaderreen Castlerea area, Micheál Frain, as a “disgrace”.
While welcoming the work being carried out in the national broadband strategy, Frain states that Ireland still fares out poorly in comparison to other countries when it comes to availability and speed. “Recent statistics by the rural economic forum readiness index shows a few alarming statistics on how Ireland stacks up against our international competitors. For instance, in quality of competition with the Internet service providers (ISP) sector we ranked 68th behind Bulgaria and Azerbaijan. Regarding internet access in schools, we are 38th, behind Thailand and the Slovak Republic. On government prioritising of information communication technology (ICT) we are tied at 52 with Benin and Madagascar.”
“I think that we will have to evaluate our whole direction in the future of information communication technology and I don’t think that your geographical location within rural Ireland should be a barrier to your access to acceptable broadband. It is vital that every rural community should be fully compliant to the best possible broadband service in the interest of their survival,” Frain concluded.