Broadband deficit could kill regional business

26 Apr 2005

Although they use skills and tools that originated in the Dark Ages, a consortium of Ireland’s top craftmakers have highlighted that the current lack of broadband services in regional areas is severely affecting business and inhibiting growth. They warn that unless they can conduct e-commerce globally their historic craftmaking skills may not survive.

The Kilkenny Craft Trail consisting of a number of small businesses said that broadband services are still non-existent in many parts of Ireland. These services they say are essential to enabling them to compete in an increasingly competitive, more open and globalised economy.

The consortium of some of Ireland’s top craftmakers said that the lack of broadband services in Kilkenny has resulted in the company being under stress and pressure and their business is seriously disadvantaged.

Without proper broadband facilities the company said that it is difficult to send high resolution images of their work to customers, galleries, shops and media around the world.

Michael Jackson of Stoneware Jackson explained: “Without broadband facilities, the slow speed of current internet connections has made the up-loading and sending of high-quality graphics almost impossible.

“The ability for any business to communicate at high speed is important, but for makers of design led and one-off products it is vital for survival.”

Kilkenny Craft Trail have found that as more and more of their business is conducted through e-commerce, a permanently open and high-speed line is now imperative for survival. Sally Leadbetter of Jerpoint Glass, Stoneyford, says: “Without high-speed access, prompt communication can be difficult and does nothing to promote Ireland as a suitable base, particularly in terms of e-commerce.

“In the craft industry and as more and more people work from home, broadband services are essential and we have been losing business because we cannot get this service. It is very unfair that we are being penalized because we operate in rural areas,” Leadbetter said.

Kilkenny Craft Trail warn that if broadband services are not available in the near future in their area, their historic craftmaking skills – ranging from glass making to pottery and silversmiths and leather goods – may not survive.

Pictured is a figure piece by Michael Jackson.

By John Kennedy