Virgin Media rules out expanding broadband rollout to more areas of east Cork

Virgin Media, which is starting work on bringing broadband to nearly 3,500 homes and businesses in Midleton, has ruled out extending the service to other parts of east Cork.

Virgin Media rules out expanding broadband rollout to more areas of east Cork

Virgin Media, which is starting work on bringing broadband to nearly 3,500 homes and businesses in Midleton, has ruled out extending the service to other parts of east Cork.

County councillors have expressed disappointment with the news, which came after they questioned Virgin Media officials who made a presentation on the Midleton project to the East Cork municipal district council.

Virgin Media project coordinator, Ed McAteer, said a successful business case was made for the Midleton project because of the number of homes and businesses in the area seeking high-speed broadband.

Cllr Danielle Twomey asked whether his company has any plans to roll the scheme to outlying areas in East Cork and was told they don't.

She was also told there is no business case being compiled for Youghal, which is the second biggest town in the East Cork region.

Cllr Twomey expressed her disappointment at this, as did Cllr Michael Hegarty who said rural areas are losing out on services yet again.

Mr McAteer said it isn't commercially viable for the company to hook up broadband for small pockets of populations.

Mr McAteer said Virgin Media was the first broadcaster and telecomunications company in the country and the company has set aside €3.42bn in Britain and Ireland to provide high-speed broadband to communities.

Councillors said they are concerned that laying the broadband cables underground would cause traffic disruption in the Midleton area.

Mr McAteer tried to allay their fears, claiming it will be "low impact constriction".

He said the company will lay its cables in narrow trenches along the kerbsides of roads so as to cause minimal disruption to traffic and said that most of the work in Midleton will be carried out in housing estates by its contractors, Actavo.

"Good underground infrastructure already exists in the town and we will be ducting through it as well. Our aim is you won't even know we're there," Mr McAteer said.

He added Virgin Media has undertaken detailed discussions already with the county council's road engineers, community groups and gardaí to minimise disruption.

Mr McAteer said work is to start on the north-eastern side of the town first and he expects the whole project to be completed by the end of next March.

Collette Ryan, Virgin Media's community liasion officer, said they will work in areas to finish and move on to other parts of the town so as to minimise disruption.

Ms Ryan said a lot of people seeking the connection had said it would allow them to work from home.

Cllr Susan McCarthy said there were concerns raised by residents about proper reinstatement of roads once the cables have been laid: "One of the biggest issues we have as councillors is with utilities coming in and not reinstating roads and footpaths."

Mr McAteer assured her that Virgin Media's contractor will reinstate roads and footpaths properly.

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