MORE than 30,000 premises in Limerick are without decent high speed broadband, according to new figures released by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
This means that around a third of the total premises in the county, including commercial and residential properties, are still struggling with slow and often unreliable internet, if they have any connection at all.
These are still in line to be targeted in the Government’s National Broadband Plan, which is aiming to deliver high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland.
“The issue of poor and non-existent broadband connectivity is a widespread across County Limerick,” said county Limerick TD Niall Collins.
Of the total 97,661 premises in Limerick, internet providers are either currently delivering, or have previously indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband to 63,698.
Mr Collins, who has been vocal on the issue of poor broadband in the past, was critical of the Government’s “failure” to deal with the predominantly rural issue.
“During the General Election earlier this year it was raised with me in every community daily,” he said.
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation added that the poor connectivity of rural areas affects the most “basic necessities such as bill paying, shopping and communications”.
“Farming and business across Limerick is negatively impacted by this failure also, which is damaging to competitiveness,” added Mr Collins.
The figures emerged after Communications Minister Denis Naughten was asked in the Dáil about the progress of the fibre broadband roll-out.
On the subject of broadband, Mr Collins confirmed the availability of a Connectivity Fund, which was formed with the proceeds from the sale of the State’s shareholding in Aer Lingus.
The fund, which was put in place as part of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to improve transport and digital infrastructure in the country, “received no applications for funding for any projects in Limerick”, according to the TD.
“This fund of over €300m is available for broadband connectivity projects, yet no agency in Limerick saw fit to apply.
“There is a huge opportunity here for Limerick City and County Council to avail of funding from this source to roll out a proper broadband infrastructure across Limerick,” he said.
“Having been left down by central government and its failed broadband policy, we shouldn't now be let down by our local government too,” added Mr Collins.