Communications provider Eircom has been criticised by Arranmore Island Community Council for what has been suggested is a deliberate snub to the island community.
The comments come following the news that many telephone exchanges across Donegal are to be upgraded to eFiber broadband providing many areas with high speed internet access.
The telephone exchange on Arranmore Island however is not to be included in these upgrades which are to take place from April through to June 2015.
Arranmore Island Community Council was set up under the guidance of Muintir Na Tire and consists of fifteen elected councillors which were voted in by the islands community in June 2014, an election which seen an unprecedented 85% turnout.
The council now represent the people of Arranmore and work to bring improved services, development and jobs to the community.
Arranmore Island is currently served with wireless broadband set up under the rural broadband scheme which has now been wound up and islanders say their broadband service is at best extremely intermittent and very slow when it is working. This they say makes it all but impossible to use as a reliable service especially with regards to business users.
Spokesman for the island council Mr Jerry Early has said Eircom and the government have questions to answer with regards to their commitment on job creation.
“Despite Eircoms claims that they are committed to ensuring everyone has access to superfast broadband their plans certainly don’t seem to mirror those claims” Mr Early said. “Indeed the government continue to make claims that they are for growth and job creation and yet their lack of commitment, and that of Eircom, to the Arranmore community of improving internet connection equal to that promised to most other communities in Donegal is stifling job creation.
“We already know of one successful businessman who is ready to relocate his business from London to Arranmore Island, as well as a number of others who have also expressed an interest in relocating their businesses to the island from other countries, and the only thing preventing them is a lack of high-speed broadband.
“Eircom and the government might well try to suggest that there is some logistical difficulties in providing such a service but the simple fact of the matter is that such provision is completely doable, the only thing lacking is will on their part. So a question needs to be asked of just how committed the government and those they work with such as Eircom are to creating jobs. For every month our connection to high-speed broadband moves further away so too do sustainable locally based jobs.”
Speaking of the governments National Digital Strategy the spokesman for the Arranmore Island Community Council said the government are certainly not living up to their promises and would like the government to reaffirm the commitments made during a visit by Minister Pat Rabbitte TD to the island in June 2014.
“Mr Rabbitte was on the island last year as part of the rollout of the National Digital Strategy and Action for Jobs last year which commits to seeing 2000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015. We think it is quite ironic that the very place he came to to make such claims is being put to the very back of the queue when it comes to a rollout of high-speed broadband.
“It would seem the government see island communities such as Arranmore and Tory and indeed many other islands around the Irish coast as second class when they will use them as a PR stunt and then renege on their promises for job creation. Yet we have firm commitment of job creation here on Arranmore Island simply waiting to be acted upon on delivery of a service most other communities will be receiving this year whether there will be jobs for them or not.
“As it stands we have been told that it could be the end of the decade before Arranmore Island receives the upgrade it needs under the current plan which is totally unacceptable. So we call upon the government and indeed Eircom to live up to their claims of digital infrastructure improvement and job creation and revisit theirs plans for Arranmore immediately, or we will be losing jobs, not creating them.”Tags: