Latest Laois News: Laois countryside still wrong side of ‘Digital Divide’
By Evan Treacy
As we speak the Government’s National Broadband Plan is being rolled out. This plan is going to provide high-speed broadband to rural homes around Ireland. A large swathe of the countryside has had to look on enviously at the broadband speeds available to their city cousins. This lack of broadband is something that most rural areas have had to contend with for far too long.
I spoke with one of the workers this morning who is helping to roll out the Broadband Plan He was able to inform me that he and his colleagues have been working for the last few month inspecting each pole. They get inspected and tested for rot to determine whether they are safe enough to install fibre cable onto.
As viewers of our ‘Live in Laois’ podcast know already my co-hosts John, Hannah, Trudy, and I have discussed this problem on many of our recent shows. Last week in our news podcast my lack of good enough broadband impacted me while presenting on our show. The previous week the self-same problem affected my colleague Hannah Cahill. Hannah and I live forty kilometres apart, but we have a desire to progress out careers in journalism and photojournalism in common. We also share pitiful broadband that doesn’t deserve the name. That lack of usable broadband is the one of the biggest obstacles hindering us in our chosen career.
This weak broadband in rural areas is a terrible disadvantage to all rural youth and their families. The countryside is currently in decline as people are not willing to live in these rural areas anymore because of the lack of basic services but especially access to the much-vaunted ‘Digital Economy’.
There are many factors for this but how can you expect people to stay in these rural areas if they cannot even do online work from their homes. Laois is in a very central part of the country with motorways very close by to a lot of towns. Given our strategic location this should be a central hotspot for business in the country. How can you expect business to come to Laois if they cannot even do the simplest of things like connect to the internet, however?
As some people may know I am a photographer and aspire to be a photojournalist in the near future. Incredibly I cannot even upload photos when I work from home. Given that I am clearly on the wrong side of the ‘Digital Divide’ how am I meant to progress in my career?
When speaking to the person working on the broadband poles, he showed me a map of where they have worked on. The good news is that the testing the safety of these poles has been completed in the majority of our county. He was extremely helpful when speaking to him and even showed me how they test these poles. We hope to see this high-speed Broadband rolled out very soon. Hopefully, this can provide the county with more business opportunities that it so richly deserves.