'We are meant to be working from home': Cork women in call to expedite delivery of broadband programme to local community 

'We are meant to be working from home': Cork women in call to expedite delivery of broadband programme to local community 

Pictured after logging onto the internet at the stone circle at Knockawaddra (Hill of the dog) in the hills overlooking Clonakilty Co Cork was artist Lesley Cox sending emails with her neighbour Emma Fitzpatrick of Nourishing Therapies who delivers Online Shiatsu Sessions from the stone circle.  Picture Denis Boyle

TWO Cork women, who say that poor broadband coverage is having an adverse effect on daily life, have launched petitions to expedite the delivery of rural broadband rollout programme in their local area.

Clonakilty neighbours Emma Fitzpatrick and Lesley Cox have joined forces to request the immediate rollout of fibre broadband to their local community in Knockawaddra, which is located 7km from Clonakilty.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the poor broadband coverage is having an adverse effect on her neighbours in their daily lives, that it has affected people’s ability to work from home, and children being able to complete their homework.

'Unsustainable'

She said their current situation is ‘not acceptable’ and ‘unsustainable’ for daily life and trying to work remotely.

“We want the rollout to be expedited. We are living with substandard and unstable internet. It is not acceptable when rural life is meant to be promoted and we are meant to be working from home,” she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she feels upload speeds in the area are not sufficient, and that this has proved very ‘detrimental’ to her business as a shiatsu practitioner.

“My own business has been affected. I also run a wellness service, while Lesley is an artist.

“All the members of our community have been affected. Our businesses have been disrupted due to poor broadband. Fibre is the solution, and it stops 1km away. I have managed to get a satellite system which gives us basic broadband.”

She said she currently has to send emails from up the hill.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she wants National Broadband Ireland to give them a date when progress can be made in their locality.

“I have neighbours who live 1km away and they can work comfortably from home,” she added.

NBI response 

A spokesperson for National Broadband Ireland told The Echo: “National Broadband Ireland plans to carry out surveying and design works in the townlands around Clonakilty.

“4,761 premises in the area will be part of the rollout of the National Broadband Plan.

“In Cork, there are 79,424 premises in the Intervention Area which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates to 29% of all premises in the county.

“Under the National Broadband Plan, Cork will see an investment of €314M in the new high-speed fibre network. This will enable e-learning, remote monitoring of livestock or equipment, e-health initiatives, better energy efficiency in the home, and facilitate increased levels of remote working.

“In advance of the Fibre-to-the-Home roll out, the NBP provides for the delivery of Broadband Connection Points nationwide. 152 of these sites are now ‘live’ and have both internal and external broadband access. These facilities — which include GAA clubs, community centres, and tourist sites — will provide free public access to high-speed internet in the rollout area. Broadband Connection Points in the townlands around Clonakilty include Lisavaird Community Centre, Clogagh Community Hall, and Castletownkenneigh Community Centre.”

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