Poor broadband and phone service hitting businesses

October 24th, 2016 7:15 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Andrew Heath: losing out over poor phone service.

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LOCAL business people have expressed their frustration with Vodafone over the lack of a quality phone and broadband service throughout West Cork.

Business people at opposite ends of the region have vented their frustration this week, saying the service is just not good enough for 2016 – and claim it is hampering their attempts to do business.

Andrew Heath of Manning’s Emporium in Ballylickey and Anthony O’Donovan, the managing director of Masterkabin in Innishannon, have both criticised provider Vodafone for a lack of coverage in their respective areas. 

Andrew Heath said the poor quality broadband service is costing his business thousands of euro in sales.The former Eircom (Eir) user said he switched to Vodafone because the company promised to increase their speed and reliability in Ballylickey, but the service didn’t improve.

‘After registering numerous complaints with Vodafone,’ he said, ‘the company acknowledged, in August, that there was a fault on the line and gave an undertaking to have it fixed by October, but that hasn’t happened.’ Manning’s is a popular spot during the height of the tourist season, but it also has a busy Christmas trade in the sale of wine and hampers.

It is during these busy periods – when there is a demand on the network – that the credit card facility frequently drops out. The facility uses the mobile network to connect.

‘The system would just switch off and we wouldn’t be able to process people’s credit card payments, particularly for larger orders, like wine by the case. It is heartbreaking if you have to then put those bottles back on the shelves,’ he said.

From June to September, Andrew took a note of all of the failed transactions – a figure that amounted to €2,500 – but with Christmas orders about to pour in, he said, his business is taking a hit.

‘We never know when we will be able to process a payment. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This is a seasonal business. Aside from our Christmas hampers, we are looking to develop an e-commerce site, but under these circumstances it is very difficult. The prospect of not being able to accept credit cards is unacceptable in this day and age.

‘It might not make commercial sense for Vodafone to put a booster in this area,’ Andrew said, ‘but we have to fight for a better service because we are depending on it for our commercial viability.’

In Innishannon, Anthony O’Donovan says there is still no network coverage on the N71 between Clonakilty and Bandon for several kilometres. He told The Southern Star: ‘There is a section of the N71 from White’s Gate through Gaggin and halfway to the beginning of Bandon where there is no Vodafone signal. If you are commuting that section of the road, you have to have your calls made before or after. It’s not on in this day and age. I’ve had a mobile phone since 1990 and the service in that area is getting worse, not better.’

No  response from Vodafone was received before going to press.

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