Meath County Council's involvement in the National Broadband Plan
The majority of people in Co. Meath already have access to high speed broadband and more will be connected under the current rollout plans. The commercial sector has invested heavily in upgrading its networks in recent years especially in areas of high population density, but rural dwellers are significantly limited in terms of the broadband service they can obtain. The National Broadband Plan will bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas by subsidising the installation of fibre broadband in rural areas.
Unfortunately 23% of Co. Meath premises are located in the intervention area. Work is ongoing in the council to ensure a smooth and speedy rollout of this important infrastructure project. Committees are being established from across the various disciplines of the council to ensure that Meath is prepared for the rollout. These committees are working with the Telecommunications Infrastructure Providers to facilitate the speedy rollout of Fibre broadband networks as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Council is delivering on its commitments under the National Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce by appointing a single point of contact to link with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment NBP team, the Department of Rural & Community Development, the Telecommunications Operators and the departments within in Meath County Council supporting the development of broadband infrastructure in the County.
A Connected County, Meath’s Digital Strategy 2020
Meath’s Digital Strategy builds on Meath’s strategic location with historic links across the country and far beyond. It seeks to build on the county’s existing strengths and access to high speed internet back haul networks which has yielded benefits for international organisations. The strategy will leverage the opportunities that high speed internet provides to bring these benefits to all parts of our county.
This strategy is built on the input of the community and key stakeholders who have contributed to our understanding of the current challenges that we face and the opportunities that are already available.
Meath has a dispersed population leading to long commuting distances for its residents. Poor public transport contributes to isolated communities made up of disadvantaged groups and unemployed youth. Having access to digital technologies and skills could benefit these communities significantly giving them new opportunities to learn, work and engage with society.
Digital is not just for the young. As member of the Meath Age Friendly Alliance, I am acutely aware that as life expectancy increases, the need to ensure that our county becomes an even greater place in which to grow old in is increasing too. Having the skills to use the digital technologies that exist can support older persons to live in their own homes and communities for longer, and continue to lead healthy and active lives.
The fact that 54% of the County’s working population is commuting to work outside of the county is being addressed by our Economic Development Strategy. Co-working, improved broadband speeds to homes and the development of digital hubs will support residents to improve their own quality of life by working closer to home and reducing the significant environmental impact of over 100 thousand car journeys daily through the County.
Hence our vision for this strategy is to “deliver ways to make use of digital technology to make life better and easier for people.”