A rural community has united to enter the digital age.
After years of frustration over low-speed, poor-quality internet access, the people of Killavullen in north Cork are now wired for high-speed broadband.
Their partnership approach with Nova Broadband — which devised a tailor-made solution for the area — has been hailed as a model for other rural communities facing the same problem.
“We had been fighting to try and get this problem fixed for years,” Killavullen resident Jason Roche said.
He bought an X-Box and a new widescreen TV last Christmas hoping to enjoy online gaming. But the local fixed-line broadband infrastructure was in a poor state of repair and was over-congested.
Jason’s games console sat pretty much unused in the corner of his bedroom.
He and his neighbours could not do the simple things online like gaming, use Skype, watch YouTube videos, or movies or TV shows from Netflix. “We confronted the internet providers about the problem, set up a Facebook campaign and lobbied local TDs who attended meetings and said they would look into the problem — however, nothing ever happened,” he said.
“As a result, we were forced to suffer on, unable to use all of the great services offered by the internet. It’s just not fair or good enough.”
The people of Killavullen decided enough was enough and took the problem into their owns hands.
Another local resident Denis Collins, the CEO of business consultancy Smarter Dynamics, and chairman of the it@cork tech cluster, approached Dave McDonald, the managing director of Cork-based Nova Broadband to ask if his company could help.
Mr McDonald, who founded Nova Broadband 10 years ago, and who has been involved in rolling out Nova’s advanced fixed-wireless infrastructure to many parts of North Cork, said it could work in Killavullen too.
Fixed wireless uses the airwaves, bypassing the old phone line network, to deliver broadband to customers through a small dish.
Nova held a meeting in Killavullen community hall and outlined the various technical options.
The residents supplied the company with GPS co-ordinates for interested households, and Nova network engineers embarked on a mapping process.
They designed a new network for the area, and thanks to two landowners, they were able to install two repeaters to ensure maximum broadband coverage.
And after months of planning and engineering work, the service has just gone live. It has meant that Jason has finally been able to play his X-Box.
As part of the project, Nova offered free broadband to one location, and the community voted to give it to the community centre.
Killavullen Community Council’s Marion Regan said they were delighted.
“This will further enhance the facilities available to the community in the refurbished community centre,” she said.
“It means that a wide range of day and night classes can now be held with full internet connections. It also means that we can offer full meeting room services,” she added.
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