Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eamon Ryan putting Muckinish on the map?

The National Broadband Scheme was unveiled today by Eamon Ryan & partners Three Ireland today. Apparently under this scheme Ireland will have 100% coverage by 2010. Wow, happy days if this is so but, I have my reservations being a girl from the fair countryside of north Co. Clare who up until about 6 months ago, could use only dial-up Internet when visiting the folks. Not the end of the world you say until you see your dad trying to download forms from the Dept. of Agriculture website for his day to day business at crawling speeds, my sister trying to fill out her CAO application praying the connection won't die & my mum telling her college lecturers she can't receive the course notes by email as the connection is too crap to receive anything bigger than about 50kb. I purchased a 3/Three dongle (seeing my mobile was getting their 3G signal) despite warnings from the sales rep that our area wasn't covered. Popped in the SIM and viola, a guaranteed minimum 1MB download for €20, quite a bit less than the 4c per minute from Eircom dial-up. They're like pigs in poop since. There's plenty others in the area and wider areas who aren't so fortunate and are still in an age where email is non-existant, booking a flight, concert ticket or renewing insurance means a drive to the nearest town/city. 

But, according to RTE it's only 10% of the population that's without cover so it can't be that bad, right? "While Ireland has over 1.2 million subscribers to broadband, approximately a third of the country is without coverage." Ok so that means Ireland has a population of about 1.3 million people? That doesn't seem right. And a third of the country without coverage? Are we talking geographical now? Huh? Broadband in Ireland has a long history of dodgy claims on stats and we're heading into more of the same if you ask me.

While 3 winning the competiton for the job hasn't been the most popular decision (and indeed maybe not the best decision) it might be a bit of a kick in the arse to Eircom, who being the owners of most of the fixed line system in Ireland should have a lot more broadband rolled out than they have thus far. I'm a firm believer in the notion of not bothering to do something unless you're going to do it right but in this case, any progress is progress and if means 100 people being able to check their email without re-dialling 5 times, I'll be content with that. 

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