Longford’s chances of finally securing high speed internet broadband countywide moved a step closer this week after the launch of a new Eircom-led strategy.
Last week, Vodafone and the ESB were given the green light to join forces to develop a new €450m fibre broadband network.
Fifty large towns and suburbs across Ireland have been earmarked for the venture with Cavan set to be the first town to profit from the scheme early next year.
Both companies believe the new service will deliver speeds of up to 1,000Mbs, more than 10 times the rate of Eircom’s current ‘eFibre’ broadband.
That was last Tuesday. The following day, the former State-controlled telecommunications company announced plans of its own to bring about high speed broadband nationwide.
A new ‘gigabite’ service, it said, will target 66 different areas of the country including Longford by piping fibre directly into people’s homes.
Not that Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council, Cllr Mark Casey was getting carried away by it all this week.
He said a recently set up broadband committee, including a number of local politicians, planned to hold talks with Eircom and other internet providers over the coming months.
The Independent Lanesboro councillor said one of the chief reasons for holding the talks was because of Longford’s alleged lack of political clout at national level.
“It was one of the issues I said I would work on before the elections because I heard it come up time and again on the doorsteps,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be a third world county in relation to broadband. If you have a minister in a county you always seem to be at the top of the list.
“But in a county like Longford where there is little or no representation, we just don’t seem to get anything.”
Cllr Casey pointed to the lack of correspondence he has so far received in his efforts to bring Longford’s broadband concerns to those in Cabinet.
“I’ve asked for a meeting with the Minister for Communications (Alex White) and I’ve yet to receive a reply,” he said.
“That was six weeks ago and to me it’s another case of Longford being ignored by this government.”
In a bid to address those concerns, Cllr Casey and others aligned to the council’s broadband committee, hope to hold talks with various state broadband providers in early January.