Broadband deficit hurting job creation in West

14 Mar 2007

A web company in the west of Ireland has suggested that Ireland is missing out on the opportunity to create thousands of jobs due to the slow rollout of broadband in rural areas.

Magico, which claims to be Ireland’s longest established web design and software development business, has a client base that includes rural-based companies. The company said that many of these companies have to rely on dial-up to conduct business as broadband is simply not available.

Minister for Communication Noel Dempsey TD recently said that he looks forward to a time when homes have bandwidth speeds of between 50Mbps and 100Mbps. The reality, according to Paul Montwill, managing director for Magico, is “that businesses across rural Ireland must survive with bandwidth speeds of less than 56Kbps”, or 0.2pc of the envisioned speed.

With the growth of online shopping in Ireland lagging behind that of its European counterparts, the digital divide between rural and urban areas is a major factor, according to Gareth Noonan, online marketing manager of Magico. He said that slow dial-up speeds frustrate the customer and hinder the small company.

He noted that numerous small businesses resort to expensive satellite broadband or rely on spotty coverage. Of the bandwidth promised by the government, he commented: “We need to walk before we can run.”

Montwill said studies show that the development of an advanced communications infrastructure can lead to job creation and retention. “The Government should place investment in rural communications at the top of its list of priority actions in the interests of the national economy,” he stated.

By Marie Boran