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Free high-speed internet at six rural Louth locations, Minister announces

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Mattock Rangers vice-chairman Mark Leacy opens up the club ground for the resumption of club training in June 2020. Photo Credit: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.

The first group of Broadband Connection Points in County Louth have been completed, with six rural locations among 50 of the first tranche of BCP’s to be rolled out nationwide as part of the Government’s National Broadband Plan.

Templetown Beach, Port Beach, Clogherhead Pier, Mattock Rangers GFC and Annaghminnon Rovers GFC are among the Louth based sites to be included, as is Killanny GAA club on the Louth and Monaghan border.

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“This is the first batch of completed sites which have been delivered by Vodafone Ireland and the NBI, we have been very lucky in County Louth to secure 6 of the first 51 sites to be connected nationwide,” Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said.

“They will provide communities with free high-speed internet access at publicly-accessible sites under the Government’s new Connected Communities initiative.”

The six named sites in Louth listed above were all connected in the three week period to end of September, the government say.

The Government say that more than 200 public access points will be connected across the country before the end of 2020 in addition to 75 school Broadband Connection Points.

This shows clear intent by the government to continue their investment in rural Ireland, it will further reduce the digital divide between rural and urban areas. The last number of months, as we have managed the very difficult Covid 19 pandemic, we have seen first hand the importance of strengthening the digital connection in our communities. We must continue to provide better availability to our communities in County Louth,” O’Dowd added.

Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Eamon Ryan made the announcement at Glenasmole Community Centre in South County Dublin on Thursday morning, in collaboration with Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone Ireland and David McCourt, Executive Chairman of National Broadband Ireland.

The BCP initiative is being rolled out by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Local Authorities and the owners and managers of the BCP sites.

It is expected that further BCPs will be brought online in 2021.

The Government say that each BCP will serve a different purpose – some will support remote working, others will facilitate study and digital skills training, and many will act as community access hubs with indoors and outdoors WiFi.

BCPs will be provided with a temporary wireless high-speed broadband connection of up to 150mbps which they will keep for three years, or until they are provided with a permanent high-speed broadband connection under the NBP.

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