Ireland: Rural broadband: Girl (12) takes Taoiseach to task over internet access - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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IrelandRural broadband: Girl (12) takes Taoiseach to task over internet access

17:00  16 may  2019
17:00  16 may  2019 Source:   independent.ie

Ministers are set to sign off on the €3 billion broadband plan - here's what we know so far

Ministers are set to sign off on the €3 billion broadband plan - here's what we know so far Ministers are set to sign off on the €3 billion broadband plan - here's what we know so far

Broadband speeds in some rural areas of Ireland are up to 36 times slower than those in towns and cities The study also found that only a quarter of households receive internet speeds of 30 megabits per second (mbps), the Brexit will affect if public finances ‘can bear cost of broadband ’ - Taoiseach .

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Rural broadband: Girl (12) takes Taoiseach to task over internet access © Catalyst Images Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

A Mayo schoolgirl has tackled the Taoiseach on the lack of broadband in rural areas.

Aoibheann Mangan (12), from Hollymount near Claremorris, doorstepped Leo Varadkar (TODAY/THURSDAY) after he launched InspireFest 2019 , a two-day festival exploring the future of science, technology and creativity in Ireland.

At the launch, the Taoiseach spoke about how he wanted Ireland to be "ahead of the curve" when it comes to technology development in Ireland's future.

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Rural areas. The issue of poor broadband access Many households in the U.S. have been wired for DSL, or digital subscriber lines, permitting the transmission of high-speed internet data over telephone lines. Summerville says she takes her internet connection into consideration every single time she

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Aoibheann Mangan told Mr Varadkar that she has been going to a local Tesco car park to access WiFi until recently.

She said accessing broadband in rural Ireland is a big problem and asked how much longer people will have to wait for a proper broadband service.

"It’s not fair that people in Dublin get access to everything because they can get on the internet. Everyone should have those opportunities," she said.

The Taoiseach said he wished national broadband could happen faster, and told Aoibheann he feared the political opposition could derail the broadband plan.

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For comparison, only 12 percent of Monroe County residents lack any household internet access . The FCC maps internet options across the country, but data about broadband access can be skewed based Frontier advertises up to 12 megabits per second on the company's website for these areas

The battle for broadband is far from over with a recent court ruling upholding net neutrality. Most importantly, the decision maintains that the internet is a public utility, as critical as phone service and power.

"I wish we could do things quicker. But my fear is the opposition and some other political people will stop the contract being signed and then it's back to square one.

"I know how important broadband is, particularly with so many educational resources online. Kids in rural Ireland should have the same ability to download information as kids in Dublin," he told her.

Rural broadband: Girl (12) takes Taoiseach to task over internet access Plan: Taoiseach Varadkar He said if the contract is signed work could start before the end of the year, meaning in the first year 10,000 homes, business and schools could be connected through 300 hotspots around the country.

"In the second year and every year after that between 100,000 and 150,000 could be be connected which still means it will take six or seven years to do it," said the Taoiseach.

"I wish we could do it quicker but the experts and the people who work in the business tell us that is as quickly as it can be done," he added.

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Rural broadband e-connectivity is the driver of more than one-third of that potential value, equal to billion of annual economic improvements for our nation. Without access to broadband , entire communities are increasingly left behind in today’s information-driven economy.

The improved broadband connection allows customers in rural areas to access bandwidth-intensive applications. BPL stands for Broadband over Power Lines and utilizes conventional power lines to establish a high speed Internet connection via the AC outlets in your home.

Aoibheann Mangan is a campaigner for rural broadband.

"I'm trying to do this for everyone  because deserves an equal opportunity. People over here in Dublin get a good opportunity - they have great internet, whereas back home before I got the internet I had to sit outside Tesco's carpark to get the internet which wasn't fair because that was ages away from my home," she explained.

"Once I got the private broadband I was able to stay at home and I have so many opportunities. I want everyone to have that opportunity," Aoibheann added.

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