Broadband failure threatens business success in Mullingar

Eircom have admitted that it needs to replace nearly a kilometre of faulty cable in Forest Park Industrial Estate in the town. The fault left several businesses including an award winning, high-tech business without internet access. And according to one business owner eircom’s inability to provide reliable high speed broadband is threating the survival of their company. Robotics & Drives had signed up for O2 broadband, which uses eircom lines, and it was only after serious internet problems that the real issue came to light.

“We are sitting ducks. It is impossible to carry on without the internet. I switched from O2 to eircom’s efibre in February after nearly a decade of broadband issues

“When I left O2 completely for eircom, eircom finally disclosed that 800m of cable needs to be replaced from the cabinet into our park in the Forest Park Industrial Estate,” says Sharon McNevin, Robotics & Drives, a technical support and robotics company based in Forest Park.

Sharon despairs that the company will never have the internet provision it requires and believes that, in such challenging times, the absence of broadband places the entire business at risk.

“Now they claim that they have applied for planning from Westmeath County Council and that all of this could take months. Where is the practical support for business? Why, in 2014, has a business like mine to fight tooth and nail with broadband providers to get even a terrible service never mind the high speed one you need to do business in today’s high-tech world?”

Robotics & Drives is a Mullingar success story. A company leading the field in turnkey robotic automation projects in Ireland, they have blue chip companies on their books and develop robots for the medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive, food and beverage, plastics, and consumer goods sectors.

In December the company invested €10,000 to upgrade all its IT and now finds themselves in the unenviable position of not being able to back up their important project work to the cloud or even retrieve emails remotely.

Sharon says that they have had intermittent faults with their broadband “going up and down” on a daily basis since they first set up in Forest Park in 2005.

“We were with O2 [which uses eircom lines] as a provider when last November the line on which I had O2 broadband went completely. I spent November and December fighting with O2 to resolve the problem which clearly was an eircom fault,” explains Sharon.

“O2 wanted to provide me with eFibre but because the poor quality of the line were unable to do this. In desperation I left O2 early Jan 2014 and returned to eircom to fix the fault and receive eFibre directly from them as I do believe I was not receiving the customer service from eircom because I was with O2.”

Sharon has spoken to other business units in Forest Park and has discovered that they are also experiencing the same issues she is. “As companies who are trying to stay in business can I ask the county council, Enterprise Ireland, and the Government; where is our infrastructure? Our promised broadband? We pay our rates and our taxes and we employ people. Mullingar is on its knees we are a shadow of a town and are clinging on to what industries we have, we need someone to help us on this matter and we need that help immediately.”

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