The necessity for many people to work remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic brought the country’s digital connectivity into sharp focus and the launch of Longford’s first broadband connection points (BCP) is a very significant and positive step in getting rural communities connected.
The BCPs, located at Mullinalaghta Community Centre and Ballymore GAA grounds, are among the first premises in the state to be connected under the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
BCPs are public locations which have been selected to receive free high-speed broadband connectivity in this the first year of the NBP.
Eight further BCPs are to be established across county Longford at Latin School community centre, Moyne; Moydow community centre; Abbeyshrule airfield; Corlea Trackway visitor centre; Colmcille GAA; Carrickedmond GAA; Fermoyle NS and Bunlahy NS. The BCPs at Fermoyle and Bunlahy are for educational purposes only.
Speaking in Mullinalaghta last Friday, Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Paul Ross stated, “this facility offers free WIFI outside in the car park and inside the community centre which is set up taking into account social distancing for citizens who wish to hot desk for work, students who need to complete tasks online and anybody for that matter who needs a desk and a chair to work while using high speed broadband, all free of charge.”
Granard Municipal District Cathaoirleach Garry Murtagh remarked, “Access to high-speed broadband connectivity has never been of greater importance. We are delighted to see Mullinalaghta Community Centre open as the first broadband connection point in Granard MD. The local community and surrounding communities can call to the centre and access this high-speed broadband and it is a significant milestone for the area.”
Mr Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive of Longford County Council, said the BCPs will ‘play an important role in providing access to high speed broadband during the Covid-19 crisis, enabling rural communities to stay connected and in touch’.
Welcoming the two new BCPs, Senator Micheál Carrigy commented, “Covid-19 has shown the value of digital technology in enabling workers, businesses and families in Longford to stay connected. When people can work from their own communities, they can maintain the close connections that matter most: family, friends, community, and their homes.
“More than that, they can support local businesses, sports and community groups, all of which contributes to sustainable communities.”
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, said: “The launch of the first of the Broadband Connection Points under the Connected Communities initiative represents an investment in rural futures and recognises the contribution that rural Ireland makes to the culture, innovation and economy of our country. More than 50 locations have already been connected by Vodafone Ireland and NBI, with more sites to be installed each week from now until the end of the year and beyond.”
Longford County Council Broadband and Digital Officer, Ms Christine Collins thanked the local community volunteers at Mullinalaghta community centre and at Ballymore GAA for their vital input and help in getting the sites up and running.
Ms Collins also thanked the Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, National Broadband Ireland and Vodafone Ireland for their work to develop a network of BCPs in Co Longford under the ‘Connected Communities Initiative’.
For further information on this initiative please contact broadbandofficer @longfordcoco.ie
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