BROADBAND internet services are expected to be available in all of Kerry before the end of this year, despite ongoing objections to masts by local communities.
Another obstacle to rolling out the service is a controversial rule by Kerry County Council, which bans the erection of telecommunications masts within one kilometre of houses and other residential buildings.
To date, 36 of Kerry’s 86 electoral areas have been connected to broadband and 3-Ireland – the company contracted by the Government to provide the service countrywide – is confident all of Kerry will have the service by the year’s end.
Damien Gallagher, 3-Ireland project director, said the wireless broadband was, realistically, the only way much of Kerry would ever get broadband, due to the county’s mountainous terrain.
In remote areas of Scandinavia, the wireless system was successful and the outlook for Kerry was good for that reason, he added.
Several communities across Kerry, notably in the Glenbeigh area, continue to strongly oppose planning applications for the necessary masts and the county council refuses such applications because of its 1km rule.
However, An Bord Pleanála invariably overturns the council’s planning refusals, following appeals by 3-Ireland and other telecommunications companies.
Mr Gallagher said a high-quality broadband service would have enormous benefits for households and rural businesses in Kerry.
It would enable businesses to compete on an even pitch with urban competitors and improve ways of doing business efficiently, he maintained.
“More importantly, a high-quality broadband offering would make rural areas a more attractive location for small and medium-sized businesses, not to mention larger multi-nationals and indigenous firms,” he said.
“The availability of broadband in Kerry has been poor, but the aim is to correct this and get the county ‘up to speed’ in broadband terms by the deadline of next September.”
Strong opposition has been mounted to mast proposals in the Glenbeigh area, on the picturesque Ring of Kerry, but An Bord Pleanála recently gave the all-clear to 3-Ireland for a 24-metre high mast in the area.
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