“We had no broadband for a week because the cow ran through the fence”

We continue our look at the reality of rural broadband, this time in Kildare

Last week we reported on the poor connectivity residents in Mayo are faced with on a daily basis. We heard from a family who need to climb into their treehouse to access the Internet and received a huge reaction to this issue. Many listeners and readers got in touch from Kildare to tell of their experiences and so I set off to Kilcullen in South Kildare to find out more.

South Kildare is approximately 40 minutes from where I live in South Dublin and I was taken aback by just how poor the Internet connection really is. I met with Patrick Donnelly who is a farmer and builder from Calverstown, which is a sizeable area in South Kildare. Patrick lived in America for a number of years and compared that experience to life in Calverstown today:

"I left the States in 2001, which is a little over 14 years ago, and back then we probably had broadband for four or five years by that stage - and it was high speed. So if you add the 14 years plus the four or five years, you're looking at close to twenty years ago when we first got high speed broadband. Currently, I'm on my fourth provider and generally they're not too bad when you first sign up, but as they sign up more customers, the connection gets worse."

Patrick explained how this impacts his life as a farmer. All new births need to be registered on the Department of Agriculture's website within 21 days, but this can prove extremely difficult for those living in rural Ireland as the connection constantly drops. 

House prices

The issue of poor broadband also impacts the property market too. Patrick explained more:

"If people go to a site or if they go to sell a property in rural Ireland, there's two questions that are asked first. They are what is your phone service like and what is your broadband like. And it gets embarrassing when you start to explain that there's two or three providers but it's a case of 'who is the best of a bad lot' unfortunately. It can impact the on the sale".

I also met with UCD lecturer Ann Sheridan who says she has to commute to and from Dublin purely because her own Internet connection is so poor. Her household was left without broadband for a week earlier this year:

"During the storms, the broadband connection went and we gave them a couple of days. Then we text, because obviously you can't email. We got a text back to say the fence in the field had blown down, the cows had gone through the fence and knocked into the transformer. It would be funny if it wasn't so frustrating." 

You can listen to the full report here: