Without highspeed broadband will people return to live in rural Ireland

first_img By Gráinne Ní Aodha Without high-speed broadband, will people return to live in rural Ireland? The government’s €60-million rural plan aims to create jobs in rural areas, and to encourage people to move out of the Dublin commuter belt, and move back to rural towns. 9,682 Views People say why do they need 90Mbps broadband, are they watching Netflix and that really annoys us because you need that speed.“When you have a website, you have videos of what you’re selling on the home page. In the old days, TV advertising would have pictures and a voice over, asking you to buy something. Source: Shutterstock/IDEAPIXELThe government’s rural development plan has been well-received so far.Although most of the rural development offices that TheJournal.ie contacted yesterday hadn’t yet heard of the plan, most of the national groups representing subsections of communities were cautiously positive.One rural development office said they hadn’t time to look at the plan yet, but that anything that would help rural Ireland would be welcomed, and badly needed.The plan will link up local development centres, businesses and councils to work together instead of working against each other to make the area more attractive to live.This will mean focusing on promoting local commerce, tourism, and culture, as well as making some infrastructure and transport improvements.A lack of government services and access to amenities is thought to make rural areas less attractive to people looking to move, but most people leave rural areas in the first place in search of employment.“The jobs are in the cities,” says Boland.“When you get married and have children, you want your work to be close by, but a lot of people can’t afford a house in Dublin. So those people will seriously look at settling in the hinterland.”The €60-million plan will aim to achieve two main things: create jobs in rural areas, and to encourage people to move out of the Dublin commuter belt, and live in towns.It plans on doing this for small businesses by reviewing rent rates in towns, and providing a scheme where derelict shops and businesses are refurbished and used again.“It’s [about] coordinating the whole lot and working together,” Boland says.“Rural Ireland is a lovely place to be – there’s a lovely quality of life, it’s a great place to bring up families, and given a choice, any family would love to live here.”While there are welcome proposals in the plan, there is still uncertainty over some issues – such as transport services (especially in light of the recent Bus Éireann dispute); and the competition from big supermarkets that puts pressure on local suppliers.Read: ‘It’s the lifeblood of the community’: Protest as rural post office to shut next weekRead: ‘Resurrecting Ireland’s villages’: The new plan to get people to return home to rural Ireland Image: Shutterstock/pakdee kanchanaphairoj http://jrnl.ie/3201328 Share33 Tweet Email Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlecenter_img It doesn’t matter if you’re selling sweeping brushes, you need broadband.Boland remains optimistic that Naughten’s taskforce is bringing highspeed broadband to rural communities, saying that “the tendering process is well under way”.These are the areas in Ireland with the slowest and fastest broadband speeds Short URL RURAL IRELAND CAN’T develop further without high-speed broadband – that’s the feeling on the ground after the government launched its plan to revitalise rural Ireland.Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys, and Communications Minister Denis Naughten, launched the plan that would take the economic and social focus away from Dublin, and invest in 600 rural villages and towns across Ireland.“There will be a renewed focus [on rural Ireland] within government departments,” Naughten said at the launch. “Not only will I be holding government to account, rural Ireland will be holding me and the government to account.”But there won’t be proper development without the expansion of rural broadband to these towns and cities, is the message.An Irish Farmers Association spokesperson said that although the plan looked good, it was rural broadband that was “a real killer” for farmers looking to expand their business – or start something new on the side.Seamus Boland, CEO of Irish Rural Link agrees, saying that what they needed was proper high sped broadband: “no mickey mouse broadband”, he insisted.While Legan, Co Longford comes out the with the slowest average speed of 1.98Mbps – Leitrim, Roscommon, Monaghan and Mayo are also in the bottom five. Tuesday 24 Jan 2017, 6:01 AM Jan 24th 2017, 6:01 AM Image: Shutterstock/pakdee kanchanaphairoj 37 Comments last_img read more