It may sound like a small thing, but there are rural shopkeepers in Westmeath and Longford who cannot sell phone credit - and it’s because they can’t access broadband.
That, says Deputy Robert Troy, is just one example of huge range of repercussions to businesses trying to operate in areas where there is virtually no broadband coverage.
And within Westmeath, there’s a long list of such areas, as Deputy Troy’s Dáil colleagues learnt when he listed just some of them out just as the Dáil broke up for its Christmas recess: Ballynacargy, Ardagh, Legan, Rosemount, Castletown Geoghegan, Dysart, Monilea and Rathconnell “to name but a few” on the wrong side of what he’s terming the urban/rural digital divide.
“No priority is being given to providing broadband in rural areas, but if we’re talking about supporting businesses, this has to be tackled,” Deputy Robert Troy told the Westmeath Examiner this week, reiterating his disappointment that neither the minister for communications nor his junior minister was present to take the debate in Dáil Éireann, instead handing over responsibility on the day to Deputy Alex White, Minister of State at the Department of Health.
He added that the issue isn’t affecting just businesses, but students who need to study at home; workers who need online access from hom
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