The story of a broadband seeker in rural Ireland and the steps he had to take to get reliable broadband:
Well firstly here at home we had an ISDN line and then we got Fixed Wireless Access but the company had a terrible service, I then moved onto 3G dongle power which was fine at first for basic web surfing and email but for gaming the packet loss was unbearable.
Then a second FWA provider came along and they provided a top class service for a year or so but sadly the service got worse and worse and after learning from my first experience with FWA, I just cut off the direct debit rather than get frustrated and went back to the dongle at least I knew the dongle was terrible and could suffer that. Shortly after that the company withdrew their service from the area.
Then after a few months of thinking & research I came up with a brainwave that i could connect wirelessly to a DSL connection in my neighbours mothers house in Youghal (6mls away), I paid the phone bill in the house and shared the connection with my neighbour but unfortunately about 10 months ago my neighbour moved away and in the coming months the connection to Youghal would be no longer accessible.
I had really been spoiled by the features that the internet could offer and I was nothing short of sick at the thought of going back to the 3G dongle so after speaking to others in the area I decided then to look into our own community scheme.
I spoke to a few contributors that constantly posted in the broadband section looking for advice and luckily one of them knew an IT guy in my area that was also suffering from the lack of connectivity and he joined up with me in the quest. Now you have to understand that construction is my background and for me networking is just a hobby and in my naivety I thought that getting internet was as simple as connecting a garden hose and sharing that connection but it turned out to be a bit more complicated than that but with my IT guy in the group that had all the fancy words I reckoned we were in business.
We contacted all the main providers and were quoted some ridiculous money for bandwidth, but luckily enough through contacts with my IT guy we happened across Cork Community Broadband who themselves had setup as a community scheme a good few years ago and the rest is history…
The community, as a group has benefited to no end, I myself work from home a few days a week and as do others in the group, I supposed what really shocked me was back in January when we had about 20 people on the scheme and the network was down for a morning in midweek and I got 5 phone calls from people who depend on our connection and were unable to work from home on that particular day, for me that was the realisation of how dependant people are on the internet also I was quite chuffed to think that so many people were confident enough in our network that they could work from home.
Rural Ireland seems to have been forgotten in the broadband revolution, the dongles only serve to reduce the amount of potential customers for wireless ISP’s to be profitable, unfortunately it is up to the people to get their act together to provide the better speeds and quality that the rural community needs.
The biggest hurdle with setting community schemes like ourselves is to get backhaul but I believe that there is an opening for DSL providers to be a major player in this if the offered DSL connection to community groups for €25.00 – €30.00 per Mb as most of rural Ireland is within spitting distance from exchanges…. (Well wirelessly speaking of course)
Please take a look at our website for more information : www.wwcbb.net
Killian Mc Grath
There are 2 comments for this post:
I live in an area where I am unable to get a mobile signal. (I have heard that eircom ordinary broadband is ‘in the village’, which is 3+ miles from me.) I am using/struggling-with/coping-with Onwave’s satellite broadband. When it is good it is very good, and when it is bad it is horrid.
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