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08 Dec 2021

Lockdown shows need for action on broadband - Waterford Senator

Lockdown shows need for action on broadband - Waterford Senator

Lockdown shows need for action on broadband - Waterford Senator

Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has said that the difficulties faced by some workers and students with their broadband speeds and access whilst working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic emphasises the obvious and urgent need for greater broadband connectivity in rural Ireland. 

The Senator highlighted this as proof of why Fine Gael’s National Broadband Plan is so badly needed.

“In Waterford alone, there are 14,809 premises that will benefit from the National Broadband plan, an investment of €59 million. The contract for the plan was signed last November and will deliver high-speed broadband to 1.1 million homes, farms, schools and businesses nationwide.

Senator Cummins said: “Many people are now working from home who would never have done so previously. For many, it was undoubtedly challenging to come to terms with new workplace surroundings and with all the technological requirements needed at home. However, for the most part, as things have settled down during the outbreak, workers have been able to work from home more easily and many are reporting to me that they are finding it beneficial.

“As a result, there is now a new opportunity for businesses and for families alike to experience a better work/life balance when Covid-19 subsides and when work returns to normal. I believe this will be one of the very few positives Irish society will gain from this challenging time and the ‘new normal’ period ahead. I believe the new government must prioritise and promote remote working where possible into the future by supporting employers to enable their employees to work from home, perhaps a grant to establish an office at home could be considered?”

However, Senator Cummins noted: “While many people have experienced the positives of working from home, I have been contacted by numerous people, including students, who have highlighted the lack of access or very slow speeds outside of the urban areas and inside the State Intervention Area, identified in the National Broadband Plan. This is of major concern and highlights to me the importance of the state investment in broadband for all of parts of Ireland.

“Regretfully, last year, we witnessed the National Broadband Plan being turned into a political football by those who are now calling for greater access across the country for individuals, students and businesses. At times the very viability of the project was called into question. However, now more than ever we can see that the National Broadband Plan must be delivered.

"Broadband access is as important today as electricity was to the home sixty years ago.”

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