12 June 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan has called for broadband blackspots to be prioritised in the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the true reality of the digital divide with more people having to work from home; with people living in rural areas experiencing real difficulties with their connections and speeds.
Deputy Moynihan explained, “Over the last few months I have noticed an increase in the number of people contacting me about broadband. Having to work from home, or having children in the house having to do their schoolwork online has put the broadband issue back on the agenda again, with people becoming increasingly frustrated with the patchy nature of their low speeds, and unstable and patchy connections.
“With the rollout of the National Broadband Plan signed off on, I believe we need to see these blackspots prioritised.
“Once communities are connected to a reliable broadband service, it will open up a range of opportunities to them – particularly community hubs. While we all have to adhere to social distancing guidelines at the moment, we also have to plan for the future. These hubs help to reduce social isolation in rural areas, by creating a space for people to work, to host meetings and to hold community events.
“Even though we cannot meet up and work in shared spaces now, there will be a time when these services will be needed again and they must be factored into the needs of communities which are still waiting for broadband.
“These blackspots must be prioritised in the NBP to ensure that the areas with the greatest need are not left waiting for years for what is now an essential service”.