Will fibre broadband be out of date when we get it in rural Kilkenny?
A row over rural internet services broke out at a meeting of Kilkenny County Council when one councillor proposed asking the Minister for Communications to abandon the roll out of costly fibre optic broadband.
Cllr David Kennedy proposed the council ask the minister to abandon current plans for rural broadband. “They should look at upgrading and improving the current 3G and 4G that will give people in rural Ireland a reliable internet connection,” he said.
“I live in the middle of the sticks and I’m one of the lucky ones who has good mobile broadband. My fear is that if we roll out broadband it will be out of date by the time it’s finished and it will be a wasted €2 billion.”
The proposal was seconded by Cllr Sean Tyrell.
However a council official cautioned that it was premature to write to the minister on this. Fibre optic technology is superior in terms of speed and reliability, the meeting was told, and the council have been inundated with requests for it for some time. Not having fibre optic broadband would put the city and the county at a disadvantage.
Cllr Melissa O’Neill said she opposed the motion “strongly” because the next upgrade of 4G is 5G “and we don’t want that.” Fibre optic technology is successful all over Europe, she added. It was pointed out by Cllr Kennedy and several of his colleagues that 5G was not included in his motion.
Cllr Michael Doyle was also against the motion, and said fibre optic broadband was “vital for rural Kilkenny.”
Fibre broadband is pretty good but there are still a lot of places that don’t have anything, Cllr Pat Dunphy pointed out.
Other councillors understood the motion but did not agree with it. Cllr Andrew McGuinness commended Cllr Kennedy for his desire to improve broadband in his area but said they should leave a decision on this motion to later.
Cllr Fidelis Doherty said she understood Cllr Kennedy’s frustration but “fibre optic broadband is the way forward.”
Cllr Kennedy said he had no problem deferring his motion until the council received more information on fibre broadband rollout from government.
Mayor Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere said the message went out from the council that “the government needs to get the finger out.”