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Tag Archives: Broadband

Further phone outages leave rural communities cut off

A MAJOR outage which affected the Vodafone phone and broadband network over a number of days last week has prompted renewed calls for better services for remote, rural communities. Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hayes said the lack of coverage had severely impacted hundreds of people over the course of last week. “Obviously, at the moment, we have many more people trying to work from home,” he noted. “Parents are home-schooling and their children have to be able to access the internet. For a lot of third-level students, their phone is their only means of getting online and from Tuesday to Friday of last week, people across East Clare had no reliable coverage. One farmer was telling me about how he relies on his phone to monitor his livestock remotely and that service wasn’t available to him for days. That’s a serious issue.” The Fianna Fáil member said that when contacted the provider had responded, but not …

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Council still awaiting response from Eir over Clare consumer issues

EIR have still not responded to a formal request from the local authority for clarity on who members should contact in emergencies during phone and broadband outages. Councillor Pat Hayes said that despite recent revelations by Eir’s Chief Executive about problems in staffing its customer service function, the council had received no formal response to a query sent some months ago. “Considering that the company was once State owned and now it’s privately owned, I can’t understand why it never recognised or placed any value on customer loyalty,” the Chairperson of Killaloe Municipal District said. “People still ring their local councillor on a regular basis because they get no satisfaction from Eir, or can’t get through at all to them. As councillors, we would like to know who we can speak to within the company, but as yet, have had no reply from the company. I am hoping that, in terms of broadband, the National Broadband Plan, who have agreed …

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Rural Clare Will Remain Broadband “black hole” in 2021

THE government has been warned rural parts of Clare will remain a “broadband black hole” following the revelation that only four communities in Clare are scheduled for high speed broadband connection in 2021. This news will be greeted with dismay by thousands of Clare residents, who are working from home in line with public health guidelines to minimise the spread of Covid-19, despite difficulties with poor connection and coverage issues. Delays in the rollout of broadband will also hinder the government’s national plan to roll out 10,000 co-working and incubation spaces around the country over the next three years. Deputy Michael McNamara has expressed his disappointment at the “frustratingly slow” roll out of a high speed and future proofed broadband network across Clare as part of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led intervention. Deputy McNamara was speaking ahead of a briefing by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to Clare County Council next Monday where the CEO Peter Hendrick will outline …

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Crowe raises online marts outage with Agriculture Minister

MINISTER for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue has pledged to keep restrictions on mart access under review, following a major outage with the online system, which affected sales nationwide, including those in Clare. Raising the issue in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Cathal Crowe told the minister there had been anger and confusion among local farmers over the issue that arose at the end of last month. “The system crashed for about two hours at Sixmilebridge mart,” the Fianna Fáil TD outlined, “with the result that many of the cattle already in pens in the back yard had to be loaded back onto trailers and returned to their home farms. There was consternation in the marts and considerable anger and frustration among farmers.” The Meelick-based TD said that while sales had managed to resume on the day in question, many farmers were unable to sell their animals. “The mart in Sixmilebridge continued and some sales took place, including the sale of my uncle’s yearlings, …

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Broadband frustrations increase for East Clare residents working from home

FRUSTRATION at poor broadband across large sections of East Clare has intensified as more people try to work and study from home in response to the pandemic. One Tulla resident has told The Champion of her efforts to improve her family’s service which has involved contacting ten different providers, to no avail. The women, who lives just a few kilometres from the town, is a customer with Eir and uses a mobile broadband dongle. “I originally had broadband through the phone line and the service was very poor,” she explained. “The mobile device is supposed to provide wireless internet for up to ten devices, but if you have any more than two connected, it is a disaster. I’m working from home and my daughter was in Leaving Cert, so her studies had to take priority. At best, the service is okay, but that’s all. It is affected by bad weather too, which doesn’t help.” After trying ten different service providers …

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Loophead phone coverage ‘virtually non-existent’

THE plight of the farming community in accessing mobile phone and broadband services in West Clare has been highlighted by a Loop Head man who estimates that his family have paid more than €1,000 over a six-month period when they have virtually no coverage. John Keane, who lives half way between Cross and Kilbaha, is a dairy farmer, milking over 200 cows a day. He outlined how, since last November, five members of his family have had worsening problems in accessing a phone signal, and said the issue is also affecting the wider community. The situation is now so bad that Mr Keane fears that in the event of him having an accident or a heart attack in his milking parlour, he would be unable to use his phone to raise the alarm. “I would die in the milking parlour, if, God forbid, I had a heart attack,” he said. “As a farmer, the mobile phone is a safety net. …

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Clare doctors in the frame for remote consulting

THE use of remote consulting has become more important for Clare’s family doctors during the current Covid-19 pandemic. While remote consulting will not work for every patient, Doctor Michael Kelleher has acknowledged it is very beneficial to be able to see a patient on video and establish whether they are unwell and discuss their concerns. “Covid-19 has forced doctors to use remote consulting in a way you don’t have much choice but to use it. It is a very welcome development but it has its limitations. “It is very useful in scenarios where a doctor and a patient know each other very well and where the consultation doesn’t need a hands-on examination. “It is very useful for reviewing patients you have already seen them, know them very well and have their medical record, which in most cases is electronic. “There is a big difference between a doctor dealing with a patient he knows well remotely compared to logging on to …

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Crowe asks broadband providers to show leniency

CLARE Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe has called on satellite broadband providers not to penalise families who exceed their data package, during the COVID19 pandemic. Deputy Crowe said, “The majority of families and households across Clare are abiding by the HSE guidelines and are staying at home during this pandemic.  They are playing their part by not going out, with people working from home and kids undertaking their schoolwork in their kitchens. “This put a greater demand on the broadband infrastructure, and for some households they may be using more data than is in their current package. “Many broadband providers have a policy of adding a penalty for people exceeding the terms of their bundle.  However, these are unprecedented times.  It’s not business as usual and I am urging providers to take the current circumstances into account. “I am calling on the Communications Minister to engage with satellite broadband providers who are still imposing a cap on customers to see what can be …

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