Longford-Westmeath Labour TD, Willie Penrose, has welcomed a new map service enabling people in Westmeath to find out whether they will get high-speed broadband from a commercial operator or the State.
“Access to broadband is vital for every home and business in our county. Not only does it help attract investment and jobs to rural areas, but it also enables people to interact socially with one another, access important information about public services, and to use it as a learning tool.”
The new online map service allows people to easily identify the areas where broadband will be provided by a commercial operator by the end of 2016. Co-ordination will also get underway with communities and industry in order to ensure the maps accurately reflect the extent of the planned State intervention.
“The plan to have commercial operators deliver broadband in certain parts by the end of 2016, and for the State to then invest in all the remaining areas makes sense. It is part of the Government’s overall strategy to ensure parity of coverage between urban and rural areas,” he added.
“It simply should no longer be the case that just because someone is living in a rural community, they don’t have the same opportunities when it comes to online access.”