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Almost half Mayo without high-speed broadband access


Temporary ‘high-speed broadband connection points’ to plug rural gaps during wait for NBP rollout

Ger Flanagan

REMOTE areas in Mayo will have access to temporary high-speed broadband as they wait for the National Broadband Plan rollout as part of a new initiative in conjunction with Mayo County Council.
David Reddington of Mayo County Council’s Broadband Office told last week’s monthly meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District of their intentions to install broadband connection points (BCPs) in various blackspot locations across the county.
The solution will provide temporary high-speed wifi, with hopes of reaching 150mg download speed, in rural areas as they wait the estimated five to seven years for the rollout.
Reddington said that 12 BCPs are currently installed across Mayo in public spaces, such as community centres or GAA clubs. The connection points will allow locals to connect up to the wifi whilst pulling up and sitting in their car or by entering the premises.
The meeting was told that almost half of the county – 44 percent – currently has no access to high-speed broadband, while the likes of Clare Island, Islandeady Community Centre, Bofeenaun and Finny Community Centre are currently availing of the BCPs. Applications for Ballintubber GAA and Turlough Community Centre are in the pipeline.

Turlough blackspot
REDDINGTON also told the meeting that they are working to improve mobile blackspots, such as the one that exist around Turlough.
Cllr Ger Deere (FG) labelled the phone coverage in the Turlough area as ‘one of the worst in the country’, saying it is impacting the local businesses and Turlough House and asking Mayo County Council what it has in place to improve it.
Cllr Donna Sheridan (FG) echoed the views of her party colleague, saying ‘something needs to be done’ to ensure the Turlough people get coverage, and stressed that the blackspot is dangerous, as people cannot contact the emergency services in the event of an accident.
Reddington stated that phone coverage in the area is currently under investigation and that he is ‘hopeful’ that progress will made by Christmas time.