Lack of broadband hampers new business start-ups


19 May 2008

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Ireland could possibly field hundreds more businesses and start-ups if not for the lack of broadband in rural areas, it emerged at the Irish Internet Association conference in Dublin last week.

Bartley O’Connor, associate director of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ireland, said there is a digital divide emerging between businesses that have broadband and those that don’t.

If anything, he said, potential businesses led by entrepreneurs in rural areas which could be getting off the ground simply aren’t happening because of the deficiency in the provision of broadband services.

At present less than 90pc of populated areas of Ireland are provided with basic broadband services.

A government-funded National Broadband Strategy to provide, at best, basic broadband services in these neglected locations announced last year has yet to even begin.

“It’s an extreme situation. This is a problem for Ireland. There are areas of Donegal that aren’t provided with basic broadband.

“This is affecting business start-ups, not just end users. There could be hundreds more businesses in the country if not for the lack of broadband. People are losing out.

“This is a global market we’re talking about accessing, yet so many people are being left behind.”

By John Kennedy