Broadband to be rolled out in rural Laois community while 16,000 still waiting

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Laois Laois Laois Laois Laois Broadband to be rolled out in rural Laois while 16,000 still waiting

While over 16,000 homes and businesses in Laois still don’t have access to broadband, Laois County Council has worked with residents to roll out high-speed internet service in Clonad.

According to the Director of Services at Laois County Council, Kieran Kehoe, the council’s broadband officer, Antoinette Brennan, has secured a broadband ‘specialist’ company to help get the high-speed internet into the Clonad area.

The company assesses the best way to supply broadband to homes and businesses in the area. Mr Kehoe said the company has liaised with residents and broadband is due to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald tabled a notice of motion at the December Portlaoise Municipal District meeting asking the council to help the community in Burnwood, Clonad to install broadband. Cllr Fitzgerald was pleased with the update.

“I am absolutely delighted, I know some of the residents have been talking to Laois County Council and it is a positive response. There are some small businesses out there and it is crucial to them and it is crucial to everyone, farmers, small businesses, students and everyone,” she said.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said people have been waiting for broadband to be rolled out in rural areas since it was first announced in 2012.

“I want to support the motion and that’s good to see that Antoinette is making progress but can I just put on record that the national broadband plan which would have taken in all rural areas was announced in 2012, we haven’t even contracts signed and for the record as well we have 16,201 households and businesses still in county Laois alone waiting for broadband to be rolled out,” she said.

Cllr Mary Sweeney asked if Laois County Council had applied for EU funding for Wifi which it missed out on recently.

Kieran Kehoe said that all applications were made.

“We made the usual application where each local area was allowed to make four applications, we made the four and we were not successful. It was an EU wide application and unfortunately we didn’t come through in this round,” he said.

Laois misses out on EU money for free wifi hotspots.