Thursday, 2 Jul 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'Broadband delay is like ‘Waiting for Godot’ for those of us on the wrong side of digital apartheid'

Like a technology ‘Waiting for Godot’, the National Broadband Plan is coming. Not here yet but, like Godot’s arrival, it is imminent.

Joining Vladimir and Estragon at the leafless tree, we wait. And wait.

While we are waiting we can ruminate on the existing broadband service in rural Ireland.

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As a resident of a 1mb broadband area, my digital connection is provided by a private company. Despite being within blinking distance of a high-speed fibre enabled large county town, its digital path does not extend via the many telephone poles that lead up to my house or my neighbours’ houses.

So what is the practical application of rural 1mb broadband like?

Its low digital pressure

means internet access is adequate so long as you don’t open two website tabs at once, avoid downloading and updating software and adopt a Godot wait to view a video.

On a good day, the broadband works to a point.

But when it throws a digital hissy fit and enters its ‘broadband is working, no it’s not working’ mode, then the refresh key is pressed more times than is healthy.

In addition to poor quality broadband in my area is poor telephone line quality.

A clear line devoid of background noise appears beyond the engineering ability of a company more interested in spin than being a communication service leader.

And the annual personal cost of this world-class (tongue firmly in cheek!) internet service? Just shy of €700.  

A 2017 study found that Ireland is the third most expensive country in the EU for broadband, but is only the 22nd fastest.

Ireland ranks behind only Malta and Luxembourg when it comes to broadband costs among EU members.

It is clear my internet/telephone price does not match quality of service. 

Spoiler alert. Godot never showed.

Maybe the National Broadband Plan will never run its fibre cables in our area’s rural arteries. 

But at least I and others on the wrong side of digital apartheid have hope that modern broadband is coming.

John Tierney
Ashtown, Co Waterford

Our €3bn internet plan leaves us looking foolish

This broadband investment of €3bn is a big deal. I think the Government should press the pause button and have a rethink before committing to such an outrageous spend.

Minister Paschal Donohoe said he has agonised about this decision but to be honest it’s not his money; it’s our money. And after the children’s hospital fiasco the electorate is seriously tired of all this wastefulness. It really is too big of a gamble.

With the advancement of technology the whole system could be obsolete within five years and wouldn’t we look foolish then!

So I say back to the drawing board. There has to be a better and more prudent way.

Eamonn Kitt
Tuam, Co Galway

Let’s hope climate doesn’t get the hospital treatment

Ireland declared an “emergency” regarding hospital beds more than a decade ago, and it has gone on to be a catastrophe.

If our climate “emergency” gets similar treatment, it’s time to dig the bunker!

Paddy Murray
Castlepollard, Co Westmeath

Lawyers’ pockets do the talking on divorce times

I was amused to read that the Law Society is backing the referendum to cut the waiting times for a divorce from four years to two. To use a well-worn analogy, this is the equivalent of turkey farmers supporting the reduction of the waiting time between Christmases from 12 months to six.

It hardly seems surprising that the only people guaranteed to benefit financially from the referendum – the legal profession – should support its introduction. Why would it oppose something which is guaranteed to lead to more business?

If the State is to have an institution of civil marriage at all, then we should at least expect that it should be a serious commitment which people should give due consideration to before entering into it.

Two years seems to be an extraordinarily short commitment. I’ve had pairs of walking shoes that have lasted longer. So for that reason I for one will be voting No.

Thomas Ryan BL
Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W

When it comes to money, Government is a dictator

I feel that the Government is showing its extreme right-wing colours now by the way it is spending taxpayers’ money without any answers to the electorate.

Take the Children’s Hospital, up from €450m to €1.2bn and rising.

Broadband is now looking at costing €3bn, with an unorthodox tendering system.

There’s also the multi-billion euro underground railway to Dublin Airport, while at the same time we have 10,000-plus homeless people and hundreds on trolleys in hospitals – what we have now is a right-wing dictatorship that thinks it can spin itself out of any problems.

Donal O’Shea
Castlebar, Co Mayo

For first time in 35 years, no one deserves my vote

Dan O’Brien (Irish Independent, May 9) tells us that Ireland has the EU’s fastest-growing rural population, and that no party appears to represent the taxpayer any more.

There really is no substitute for a few cold hard facts, and for the first time in 35 years I am seriously struggling to find any candidate I wish to vote for. 

Gerry Kelly
Rathgar, Dublin 6

Brady has shown what a fool he truly can be

Captain Mainwaring of ‘Dad’s Army’ would have had a field day with the comments of Graham Brady, the chairman of the UK Conservative Party’s even more right-wing 1922 Committee, by mumbling to all: “Stupid boy.”

Commenting on yet another attempt by Theresa May to hold on to her premiership, Brady is quoted as saying, “I hope this will be brought forward…obviating the need ever for the Irish backstop to apply.”

These people are living in a world distinct from ours; a place where the powerful and the rich aren’t affected by the realities and consequences of their self-centred games.

It’s a place that not only cocoons them from reality, but, like their nannies, will not allow them to recognise or accept the fact of their considerable stupidity.

George Dalzell
Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Baker’s career has rightly now gone down the pan

Two decades ago, the ‘Viz’ comic did a strip where a cartoon Danny Baker told hiring BBC bosses, “I’ll be disguising the fact I’m a mercenary little git with a thin veneer of self-parody.”

That Baker tweeted comparing a mixed-race royal family member to a chimpanzee seems to prove how astute that observation was.

I’ve little time for political correctness, but anyone using such gutter racism for cheap publicity needs prosecution, never mind dismissal, and I hope his tour is now cancelled by every venue.

On the plus side, that’s £130,000 (€150,000) the BBC has just saved – well done!

Mark Boyle
Renfrewshire, Scotland

The Church gets coverage – just not the type it wants

Tom Smith (Letters, Irish Independent, April 30) complains that with 36pc of Irish adults attending a religious service at least once a week, the amount of articles dedicated to religious affairs is minuscule.

I cannot agree.

For starters, there has been an over-abundant number of articles about the affairs of the members of the seminary at Maynooth and also at the Irish College at the Vatican.

In addition, newspapers have been full of articles on the continual, and, most probably continuing sexual abuse – including repeated rape by the religious fraternity – of children, vulnerable women and even nuns.

Mr Smith must have missed these, but he can find them in the back issues of the Irish Independent and others.

Liam Harrington
Castletownbere, Co Cork

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