Satellite broadband can bridge digital divide for firms, Digiweb says

29 Oct 2009

Digiweb has identified 8,169 businesses and organisations in Cork, Tipperary, Kerry, Clare and Meath that struggle to access the internet and has unveiled a new 10Mbps satellite technology that will cover 100pc of the country by 2010.

The 8,169 organisations in the broadband blackspots are mainly small businesses in rural areas. Many of those identified are involved in the retail, tourism and agribusiness sectors. 

This research follows a recently published report from the National Competitiveness Council that ranked Ireland in 12th position in the EU -15 for broadband penetration.

The counties

Counties with the highest numbers of organisations in areas struggling to access the internet via broadband technology are Cork (1,071), Tipperary (712), Kerry (662), Clare (653) and Meath (494).

Satellite-broadband technology, said Declan Campbell, chief operations officer of Digiweb, is now seen as an integral part of the overall digital strategy for many of these counties.

In May this year, Digiweb launched its new satellite-broadband service ‘Digiweb Tooway’, which offers download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps to all of its satellite customers. With a major new satellite infrastructure upgrade program planned, Digiweb will increase the speeds to 10Mbps throughout all areas of Ireland later in 2010.

“With much of Ireland’s future growth dependent on the digital economy, it’s essential that all organisations nationwide have access to high-quality internet connectivity,” Campbell explained.

“Dial-up and mobile broadband can provide alternative options for a limited number of companies, but poor signal strength, disconnection problems and slow download rates are all common problems experienced by users of these technologies.

“For businesses seeking to take advantage of web applications that can enhance business performance or even those that just want to use services, such as online business banking, it’s essential that they have secure, always-on, high-quality broadband.

“The demand for satellite broadband has been phenomenal so far, particularly from organisations and residents in rural areas, with restricted or no internet access. With our research showing that more than 8,000 small businesses are currently under served, we expect the market for satellite technology to continue its high growth rate,” Campbell added.

Broadband-network coverage

The research was carried out by Digiweb in September 2009 and the information was generated following a comprehensive and detailed study of all broadband-network coverage cross-referenced with the national GeoDirectory database of Irish organisations.

Broadband “black spots” were identified as businesses and organisations not covered by either suitable lines for DSL broadband, fixed-wireless broadband or mobile-broadband technologies. 

By John Kennedy

Photo: Declan Campbell, chief operations officer of Digiweb.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years