First farm connected under National Broadband Plan

1 Apr 2021

Tom Canning on his farm near Crossdoney, Co Cavan. Image: National Broadband Ireland

A farm near Crossdoney, Co Cavan, has been connected to high-speed fibre under the National Broadband Plan.

National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has connected a farm to its high-speed fibre-to-the-home network under the National Broadband Plan for the first time. The farm, located near Crossdoney in Co Cavan, is owned by Tom Canning Agricultural Consultants.

Tom Canning, managing director of the farm consultancy business and president of the Agricultural Consultants Association, said he believes he will “benefit hugely from a high-speed fibre connection”.

“The need for the farming community to be connected to a high-speed network is vital as administration and the day-to-day running of a farm has moved online,” he said.

“For the purpose of my farm consultancy business, I also need a reliable network connection so I can effectively operate business from a rural base and I am already seeing the benefits from this connection. From speaking with others in the farming community, the National Broadband Plan will benefit them hugely.”

NBI said Co Cavan as a whole is set to receive €65m of Government investment under the National Broadband Plan, which will bring high-speed connectivity to more than 16,000 premises in the county.

The first premises in Ireland was connected to the network at the start of this year, with the initial roll-out focusing on Cork, Cavan, Galway and Limerick.

Closing the digital divide

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, said that the National Broadband Plan is one of the “most important and ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the State”.

“Now, more than ever, we see how critical access to reliable, high-speed connectivity is to our lives. Reliable access to high-speed broadband will help farmers as they use agricultural technology to maximise efficiencies, diversify into more sustainable forms of farming, produce energy and run their day-to-day business operations.”

According to Minister of Social Protection, Community and Rural Development Heather Humphreys, TD, it will also help “close the digital divide and provide a level playing field for businesses and communities, regardless of location”.

The National Broadband Plan aims to connect more than 1.1m people across 544,000 homes, businesses, farms and schools where commercial operators do not currently provide high-speed connectivity. The full roll-out is expected to take up to seven years, but NBI chair David McCourt said the team is working “as quickly as possible” to connect premises nationwide.

Residents and business in the intervention area will be able to order their connection through a number of retail services providers. NBI said that the network will be available to all such providers in the intervention area and that 42 have already signed up, with 17 ready to start providing connections immediately.

Earlier this week, the Government also announced its plans to invest in the future of rural Ireland, with the National Broadband Plan being highlighted as a key enabler of remote working going forward.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021