Louth County Council hopes to link up with Newry and Mourne District Council to improve broadband access in the Omeath and Carlingford area.
At a county council meeting this week, Mr Michael Curran, Director of Services Louth County Council introduced a new broadband action plan for the county that will target the black spots in the county, and in the case of Carlingford, link up with BT broadband in the North.
“We have agreed a pilot with Newry and Mourne to provide access for the BT fibre network for the communities of Omeath, Carlingford and Greenore,” Mr Curran said.
Mr Curran and members of the task group he heads up, will meet Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte this week and present the plan to him.
The minister announced last week that fifteen areas in the county will get high speed fibre broadband as a result of a major roll-out by the Government.
They are: Baltray, Beaulieu, Blackrock, Dromin, Grangebellow, Greenore, Jenkinstown, Kilcurly, Monasterboice, Mullincross, Newtown Monasterboice, Readypenny, Smarmore, Stabannan and Stifyans.
“Greenore is a major problem,” Mr Curran said. “We will be working with our colleagues in the North to get access for Greenore. Newry and Mourne District Council will to assist on this to provide a better service to Cooley area.
“Our vision is to make Louth a leader in business and home-based broadband and to attract new business to the county.”
The plan will also include a pilot link up with the business community in Ardee to provide a eNet and a service provider.
“Hopefully we can roll out that in Ardee. There is great commitment from the business there.”
Cllr Colm Markey welcomed the pilot project for Ardee.
“This is a project that will get all the business on the main street in Ardee on high speed broadband.
“The best thing to do for rural development is to provide an adequate broadband coverage. if your broadband is down for three or four hours in the afternoon its an absolute disaster for a business.”
Last week’s annoucement of massive investment in rural broadband throughout Ireland was broadly welcomed by local TD Fergus O’Dowd and Senator Mary Moran.
However Senator Ronan Mullen, who is contesting a European Election seat in this consituency was critical of lack of a timeline in the government’s proposal.
“This is long overdue as the country outside Dublin has been neglected when it comes to investment in broadband and large areas of the West in particular have been forgotten. It has taken the Government over two years to come up with a plan. It is unacceptable that the Minister is failing to put a time-frame on the plan.”