ALMOST 75,000 homes in Cork are still without high-speed broadband but nearly €290 million is set to be invested by the Government to rectify the shortfall.
The Government has announced that work to finalise the contract for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) is close to being finalised and the remaining 28% of premises in the whole county without fibre broadband can expect to be connected in the near future.
Cork will receive an investment of €290 million to provide fibre broadband to 74,820 homes in the Intervention Area (IA) - a mapped area of rural Ireland where high-speed broadband is currently not commercially available which half a million premises, including 56,000 farms and 44,000 businesses. This includes areas such as Kilbarry, Dromore and Currabeha – as well as nine islands off West Cork including Bere Island, Sherkin, Dursey and Cape Clear.
Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy said the roll-out of high-speed internet will allow industries to grow and make the county even more attractive to Foreign Direct Investment companies.
“Improved connectivity is a real positive – not just for businesses operating in areas without access to high-speed broadband – but for our members who interact with suppliers and contractors in rural Cork. The plan also covers parts of the city and suburbs where coverage is patchy. Cork is famed for its food production and tourism offering and the provision of high-speed broadband will enable these industries to further evolve."
Architect Peader Collins of the Irish Tree Centre in Mallow said his business will benefit.
“The Irish Tree Centre is a classic rural business that is dependent on communication at high speed. To date rural broadband has not worked for me, I am tired of patchy, slow broadband - we need the national broadband plan, full stop.” Ballydehob based businessman, Frank Wilson, MD of Ceramicx, said exporting goods will now become easier.
“We as a company export 98% of our goods to 65+ countries, employing 65 people in the rural village of Ballydehob. We welcome the opportunity to revolutionise our business connectivity”.
However, Dr Niall Smith, head of research at CIT and Blackrock Castle Observatory, told The Echo last month that he believes the Government should consider satellite broadband rather than fibre cables with the installation of around 144,000 kilometres of fibre cable on about 90,000 Eir poles around Ireland needed to deliver access to broadband in rural areas.