A SOCIAL media campaign protesting about West Cork’s dire broadband coverage will go live on Monday June 26th when the protestors gather outside the Bandon constituency office of Cork South West TD, Jim Daly.
Daniel Carey from Kinsale, who has been leading the social media campaign, told The Southern Star: ‘So far we have reached more than 25,000 people on social media and we are hoping that a good percentage of these people will turn up at the protest.’
Mr Carey confirmed that the 2pm protest will be broadcast live on Facebook, and that similar protests will be held outside the constituency offices of the Fianna Fáil TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, and the Independent TD, Michael Collins, in the coming weeks.
Mr Carey said the new pressure group, which is called Broadband for Cork South West, was established on Wednesday, June 7th last to highlight political inactivity by the three West Cork TD on the broadband issue.
He said: ‘Some of the main town centres – anywhere where there is a large population cluster, such as Bandon, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Kinsale and Skibbereen – are covered quite well, but as little as a mile outside of these centres you could find Third World level broadband.
‘I, for example, am running a business in Cork but when I am at home in Sandycove in Kinsale I have no connectivity and often have to drive into Kinsale town and work from my car until the battery drains.
‘I’ve also seen an international financier sitting in his car doing exactly the same thing. It’s ridiculous,’ said Mr Carey. ‘Late on a Friday night, revellers walk past us as we work from our cars.
‘At present, we are struggling with broadband speeds of between 0.5 and an unstable 2MB – which is just enough to allow you to open an email or maybe download an attachment – but what we need is a stable, reliable, broadband connection.’
Mr Carey explained that the pressure group, which started out as 70 residents and business people in the Kinsale area, is a non-political movement.
He said: ‘We believe we have no option but to take this action if we want to stay competitive and connected.’
Mr Carey said the group members had ‘grown tired of political inaction and commercial indifference from telecoms giants, such as Eir, and added: ‘Urgent action needs to be taken.’
He pointed out that the National Broadband Roll Out Plan is not expected to start until December 2018 and could take until 2020 to be finalised.
In the meantime, he said, he believes that plans by companies, such as Eir, are not addressing current difficulties – like poor connectivity – and will not upgrade the existing infrastructure until 2018 because it is not commercially viable. ‘This is not just a problem on the outskirt of Kinsale town,’ he said, ‘it is a problem that reaches left, right and centre,’ he said.