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Government Failing To Provide High Speed Broadband In North Tipperary

The roll-out of high-speed broadband throughout North Tipperary depends on the Government providing backhaul connectivity to link the counties (MANs) to the wider national and international broadband network.

Tipperary Unplugged

A Metropolitan Area Network (or MAN) is a large computer network that usually spans a large geographical area and usually interconnects a number of Local Area Networks (LANs) using a high-capacity backbone technology, such as fiber-optical links. This provides up-link services to wide area networks and the Internet.

Fine Gael TD Deputy Noel Coonan speaking to thurles.info said he had been in consultation with the Limerick-based company e|net which is managing the rollout of the fibre-optic broadband platform called Metropolitan Area Networks throughout Ireland.

The Deputy stated:
“At Fine Gael’s National Conference recently I said live on television that before MANs in Nenagh, Roscrea and Templemore can function effectively they must have what is called backhaul connectivity to link them to the national and international network. Backhaul connectivity relates to an improved wireless communications system capable of efficiently transmitting smaller-sized data packets (e.g. 10 to 20 byte length) that are frequently delivered (e.g. every 10 to 20 msec.) to mobile nodes on the communications system, such as voice communications. We need this connectivity to increase the competitiveness of North Tipperary and attract foreign direct investment. Cities such as Limerick, Kilkenny and Portlaoise have MANs platforms which stretch to smaller local towns but unfortunately North Tipperary is relying on this incapable and inefficient Government to provide sufficient backhaul facilities to link us up. E|net is very committed to improving broadband service in the locality and has highlighted that high-quality broadband is an essential pre-requisite to being able to attract any major business to towns around the constituency. The Limerick-based company has also indicated to me that it is vital that the present Government gets on with establishing the proposed one-stop-shop whereby all State-owned ducting and fibre would be administered by a single State entity.”

North Tipperary lost 188 IDA jobs last year and the inability to provide proper broadband hinders the county in their efforts to attract future investment. IDA figures have shown that MAN enabled towns have increased their share of Foreign Direct Investment from around 25% a few years ago to nearly 90%. Dismal news, recently announced, show that North Tipperary lost 188 IDA jobs last year and was one of only three counties that failed to attract a single IDA job in 2009, increasing its unemployment figures to 6,949. Only 13 IDA  jobs were created in the past couple of years.

Deputy Coonan continued:
“Government must boost its funding to the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) so that the job-creating body can provide jobs for some of the 6,949 people who are unemployed in North Tipperary. North Tipperary is one of the worst hit areas in the country when it comes to securing IDA jobs. This was made blatantly clear by a recent IDA report which revealed that the constituency did not attract one single job in 2009 and I firmly believe this Government is to blame for the disastrous result as it continues to forget about job creation.
A recent example of this negligence was seen in the Government reshuffle which left no Government Department with the word employment or jobs in its title at a time when jobs should be first priority. Alongside this, our poor quality of broadband is severely deterring foreign multi-national companies from investing in North Tipperary.
Securing foreign direct investment is crucial if we are to pull our economy out of this hole. North Tipperary Government supporters Deputy Lowry and Deputy Hoctor should be ashamed that they did not help attract one single IDA job to the constituency last year. What is the point of people voting for these Deputies if they cannot provide for North Tipperary?”

An IDA delegation who addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment recently this month, said that in the next 10 years, the IDA hope to secure nationwide 240,000 new jobs arising from overseas companies investing here.

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