Broadband for rural dwellers to be ‘hot desks’ in community centres?

Minister says that many of his constituents ‘do not have phone coverage never mind broadband services.’

Sligo News File.

It appears the nearest many rural dwellers will get to high-speed broadband is at their local community centre.

Questioned today by Fianna Fail Deputy Timmy Dooley, Minister for

Denis Naughton, TD, Independent. Minister for Communications and Climate.

Communications Denis Naughton said he is working with Community Development Minister Michael Ring to provide “hot desks” in rural communities where fibre is located.
“If people cannot have high-speed broadband of 1,000 Mbps in their own home they can have it in their own local community centre…

“We are working with wireless and mobile operators to see how we can exploit the fibre that is already rolled out across the country to improve the existing services that are available, so people have access to a broadband service before they have access to the high-speed broadband service.”

Saying he did not know if Naughton’s office was as inundated as his with people concerned about the issue, Dooley said he “did not intend to offer such a solution to anybody.

“I refer in particular to families where children come home at the weekend from college or with secondary schoolchildren. I do not want to say that they should toddle off to the community centre to find a hotspot to do their homework, assignments and projects. We know that when people are on holidays, they drop in to the local McDonald’s to get access to high-speed broadband. That is fine for a holiday environment, but many people in the 542,000 cohort require broadband to live their lives, do their studies, apply for jobs and in the case of farmers to return information to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. We must address the issue.

“The sooner the Minister sets out dates, the better as it will force others to meet the deadlines. That is his job, and it is the challenge of the companies to adhere to them.”