Broadbandforculdaff.com, a group of more than 125 people in the town trying to get the updated internet connection, are miffed by the decision.
Culdaff was never included in the National Broadband Scheme announced by the Government as it was deemed to have suitable coverage from North West Electronics, based in Derry.
They received funding to provide a Group Broadband Scheme in areas throughout Donegal several years ago but Culdaff was never included.
Whilst Culdaff does benefit from the 3G coverage under the NBS it does not benefit from the minimum speed of 1.2MB agreed between the Department of Communications and Hutchison 3.
Network provider 3 did erect a mast at Claggan in Culdaff in order to meet the terms of the NBS, to provide coverage to Glengad and Portaleen.
The so called NBS scheme provided by 3, is not technically a broadband service, but is actually midband.
According to locals in Culdaff it suffers from severe fluctuations in speed as the more users that latch on to a mast the slower it gets, and in December broadbandforculdaff.com calculated outages of seventy hours for the mast at Claggan, Culdaff where in fact no-one could access the internet.
The government injected €79.8m into 3 to roll out the NBS and they installed 388 masts, an average of €205,670 for the Government.
broadbandforculdaff.com contacted Eircom demanding a review of their policy and an upgrae of the local exchange.
However they were told the upgrade would simply not make economic sense for the company.
“When analysing it, the main costs incurred would be the upgrade of the transmission network serving the exchange.
“There is approximately five and half kilometres of cable that would need to be completely replaced at a cost of approximately €250k.
“The existing cable supports all existing voice services, but does not support the necessary bandwidth for broadband even if the broadband equipment was installed in the exchange. There are additional costs to provide the hardware for the exchange and these are currently estimated at approximately €15k.
“There are just over 400 customers currently connected to the exchange, but unfortunately, even if every customer in Culdaff agreed to take eircom broadband for the next five years, eircom would not receive a return on the investment.
“Making consideration for Culdaff’s local geography, there would almost certainly be a small but significant percentage of up to 20% of customers who would not be able to get DSL broadband if the exchange was enabled.
“This is a result of the physical limitation of the technology and the distance the broadband signal has to travel over the copper lines to customers who live outside of the village in the surrounding community. The maximum distance is approximately 4-5 kilometres. This additional consideration also further weakens the business case.
“It is disappointing that Culdaff has not been included in the National Broadband Scheme. Eircom made its position clear to the Department of Communications as far back as 2007 when we were asked to submit a full list of nationwide locations that would be enabled as well as those locations that would not be broadband enabled.
“The Department of Communications can provide further clarification as to why Culdaff was not included in the NBS following the submissions made by the various operators,” said Eircom.
Broadbandforculdaff.com is now calling on the Government to give Eircom the €265,000 required to upgrade the cables and exchange.
“Each 3 NBS mast cost €205,670 for an unreliable ‘midband’ connection so we call on the government to give a similar amount to Eircom to make sure Culdaff is not excluded any longer,” said a spokesman.