The issue was raised by Councillor Paul Hayes (SF) who asked colleagues to support his motion to write to the Department of Communications seeking an immediate reversal to the suspension of the provision of high-speed broadband to rural Ireland.
Clonakilty-based Mr Hayes said “it is an essential component in the creation of a rural economy, sustaining connectivity and access to educational material”.
He said the council needed to liaise more with the IDA on job creation, but the lack of proper broadband was a serious impediment.
“Tourism is a major industry for us and heavily dependent on broadband bookings. This is a disaster. It’s also important for schoolchildren and those attending university to access information online.”
Councillor Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said rural areas were being put at a distinct disadvantage as a result of the suspension until 2022.
“Everything now is being done online, but they’re [the Government] now excluding a large amount of people,” said Councillor Rachel McCarthy (SF).
Councillor Deirdre Forde (FG) said the issue was recently discussed at a regional assembly meeting. “One innovative suggestion at it was the use of drones for delivery of signals to rural areas,” she said.
Councillor Danny Collins (Ind) said Ministers Heather Humphries and Denis Naughton should be invited down to West Cork to see for themselves how bad the situation was.
Councillor Alan Coleman (Ind) said two companies based in West Cork are providing line of sight and satellite broadband and should be subsidised by the Government to roll it out in the region.