Just 6km from town – but firm can't get the sort of fast broadband it requires
One of the Mullingar area’s best known businessmen says that a poor broadband connection is hampering his efforts at growing his business.
Thomas Flynn and Sons in The Downs, which employs 45 people, has two phone lines, one coming from the exchange in Killucan and the other from Mullingar, neither of which can carry broadband internet. Despite being only six kilometres from Mullingar, they are currently relying on satellite internet which Thomas Flynn says isn’t fast enough for their growing online business.
“Killucan exchange needs to be upgraded but no money has been spent and that’s where the problem is. It’s absolutely hampering business. We want high speed internet, we’re trying to get more customers to buy online and trying to sell more online.
“Also all of our information for pricing parts is over the internet. We have customers all over Europe that we supply tractors and machinery to. We also take online orders for fuel that we supply all over the midlands and into Dublin. We are also using Facebook and other social media to promote our business and need fast speeds.”
In recent months a telecoms company offered to link the firm up to the latest 4G broadband technology but at a cost of €20,000 per year.
“No matter who we have talked to across the country, no one is paying that,” Mr Flynn says.
Although Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte announced last month that there would be a national rollout of broadband to rural areas not covered by private providers by 2015, Mr Flynn says that he’s doubtful that his firm’s broadband problems will be solved any time soon.
“I highlighted this eight years ago and was interviewed by Ciaran Mullooly on RTÉ.
“The then minister Noel Ahern talked about broadband being made available but it hasn’t changed since.”
Mr Flynn also noted that the firm’s phone lines are also “vulnerable”.
“The lines are overhead and if anyone hits a pole it will be out. If anything happens we have been told it could take three days to fix, although it has never been that long yet.
“We have six lorries on the roads and sales reps, when the phones go down everything comes to a halt.
“If a customer rings and the phones are down, they don’t know that it is a problem with the line, they just think that we are not answering.”