Speaking today in advance of the launch of its mapping phase, IFA Director of Organisation, James Kelly said the Government’s new National Broadband Plan represents a golden opportunity to create a level playing pitch around national broadband infrastructure that will ultimately lead to job creation and much needed investment in rural areas.
Minister for Communications, Alex White will today announce that up to 700,000 rural homes, farms and businesses have been identified for state support to allow for the delivery of high speed broadband services. Check the map of areas covered here.
Mr Kelly said “The identification of defined rural areas to be supported and the announcement of a delivery roadmap for the national plan is an important step forward and a step closer to addressing the vast digital divide that exists in many parts of rural Ireland today.”
“The IFA has continually pressed this issue with the Minister for Communications and his Department and we welcome that the delivery of a high speed quality broadband service for rural areas is now a top governmental priority. It is imperative the National Broadband Plan is rolled out widely and quickly, with clear defined and deliverable targets at the core of the programme.”
Like all businesses, farming is becoming increasingly reliant on high speed connectivity, the IFA Director of Organisation said: “It is very clear from our engagement with farmers that the adoption and use of ICT brings clear benefits in increased productivity and efficiencies at farm level. Connected farmers are registering animal births and movements, accessing real time price updates, taking care of banking and business admin remotely. IFA Member Services is seeing a growing demand for connected devices and increased uptake of online supports, such as our iFarm app. Wide access to fast, guaranteed broadband will mean all farms and rural businesses will be able to make use of digital advances and to compete on a level.”
“IFA will work to ensure that the National Broadband Plan remains a key governmental priority and will engage with industry and government throughout the roll out to ensure that every home and business in rural Ireland has access to a cost-effective, high-speed broadband service”, Kelly concluded.