April 25, 2024
Business News

20 rural Kilkenny communities to get more affordable broadband service

Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) is teaming up with rural communities across the county to help them prepare to turn their broadband ‘not spots’ into high-speed ‘hot spots’ with a far more affordable broadband service.

A series of roadshows will get underway from May 14 targeting 20 rural Kilkenny communities identified as ‘Blue Areas’ in the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

The so-called ‘Blue Town’ areas cover 57% of all home and premises across Kilkenny.

Some 27,200 plus homes and businesses in the county are described in the NBP as having “adequate broadband”. These will not be covered by the multi-billion NBP investment.

But many homes and businesses in Blue Towns in Kilkenny are dissatisfied with their current service and its capacity to deal with expanding needs and wants as broadband becomes a feature of almost every element of daily life, KLP research shows.

Others in these areas believe that they are spending far too much, relative to the larger cities and towns, for the service – high or low speed – they do get.

The 20 Blue Town areas in Kilkenny are Urlingford, Johnstown, Freshford, Ballyragget, Clogh/Moneenroe, Tullaroan, Kilmanagh, Bennettsbridge, Gowran, Paulstown, Goresbridge, Inistioge, Tullagher, Knocktopher, Ballyhale, Mullinavat, Slieverue, Piltown, Kilmacow and Mooncoin.

Kilkenny LEADER Partnership has engaged the services of international expert and former Carlow resident John Graves to advise and support communities in their planning. Together they will offer the help communities need to develop their own technical and business plan to develop a community fibre broadband network for their own local Blue Town area.

John and his brother set up a firm in the UK which ultimately became Virgin Media – a major supplier of broadband in both the UK and Ireland.  He was responsible for laying hundreds of thousands of miles of fibre cable across the UK. He is now putting those years of experience and technical expertise to good use for the benefit of the identified Blue Town communities of Kilkenny.

KLP is inviting expressions of interest from Kilkenny communities and small businesses interested in setting up ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) broadband networks. FTTP is the only accepted ‘future proofed’ broadband option.

Information meetings on the Blue Town initiative will take place in Freshford Community Hall on Tuesday, May 14; in Mullinavat Community Hall on Wednesday, May 15, and in Kilkenny at The Pembroke Hotel Tuesday, May 21. MC for all three events is broadcaster and journalist, Helen Carroll. Each of the meetings gets underway at 8pm.

KLP CEO Declan Rice (pictured) said: “People living in cities have options when it comes to choosing a broadband provider. Even if you live in a rural community that has an acceptable level of broadband, you probably have only one source – two at most.

“But if you live in a community that owns the network, then you have clout.  Similar schemes have been undertaken across Europe – including our neighbours in the UK.  Communities there have dug their own trenches, laid cable, hooked-up homes and businesses and are now managing their own high speed networks.”

Mr Rice added: “To be clear, we can’t dig the trenches for communities. But what we can do is offer them the technical and operational assistance they need to do the planning and to decide if they do want to establish their own fibre networks. We can advise on the operation and management of their own networks in the longer term.”

For more information, log on to: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/NBP_MAP_COUNTY_KILKENNY.pdf

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