COMMEN: Broadband rollout is anything but high speed

COMMEN: Broadband rollout is anything but high speed

The rollout of high speed broadband to rural Ireland has been cast into further disarray following the decision by Eir to withdraw from the tendering process.

That the process has reached this juncture says it all really, because we really should not be here at all.

After all, we are coming near the end of the second decade in the 21st century, and still only effectively getting to grips with a National Broadband Plan.

If it was a third world country it might be understandable, but for a supposedly “first world” country in Western Europe, and a long standing European Union member, it just does not stack up.

The situation is better than it was, but this is still hardly good enough.

It seems, however, that we have to allow for this slow pace of development in terms of this vital piece of infrastructure, and be content with our lot.

Again, this is hardly good enough, especially when so much lip service is paid to such notions as balanced regional development.

And a notion it only is when all the component pieces to make it possible are not in place.

How do small businesses in rural areas have any chance of achieving sustainability for themselves if they are denied high speed broadband.

Everyone knows it's impossible now to conduct any sort of business without viable broadband.

These businesses, where they exist, form the backbone of their local areas.

Many locate to the country, owing to the high costs associated with cities.

Furthermore, it puts puts a dampener on any of these locations as a venue for any other businesses seeking to locate outside the main urban areas.

There are echoes of the rural electrification scheme in all this, minus of course the debacles of present day.

It's the spirit of that earlier project that is now needed in order to deliver this plan.

Getting the current process back on track will the first hurdle.

However, it will be interesting to see what can be done with a process which has now left the Government with effectively one bidder.

For those waiting on high speed broadband, there is little solace to be had from any of it.