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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Broadband in rural Ireland 'If I disconnect, I don't get paid - I fear for my job'

“I feel like the people of rural Ireland have been let down, with broken promise after broken promise.”

MY JOB DEPENDS on me being connected to a high speed broadband for 8.5 hours every day, five days a week.

I live on the Roscommon/Galway border and my broadband speeds are not fast enough. I genuinely fear for my job.

I was really disappointed when I heard that Eir quit the State’s broadband plan. I work for a large e-commerce business and I need to stay connected the whole time during my shift. As it stands, my connection drops multiple times every single day. Eir was my last hope.

I’m sure my employer will pull me up any day now to explain the gaps in my availability. I have meetings with my managers over Skype video calls, and my ‘broadband’ cannot keep up. I have another one next week and I’m dreading it.

I’m at my wits end, I left my other job to do this one, and now I fear I will be let go because of my broadband. It’s an awful thing to fear losing your job all because you live in the country.

‘If I disconnect, I don’t get paid’

I started working from home in November because I wanted a better work/life balance. I had a long commute and when I saw the job advertised I felt like it was something I would be well able to do, with the perks of no commute, more time spent at home, less money spent on petrol (my bill was pretty big at the time), and the hours were a lot better than what I had at the time.

Previous to this, the extent of my internet use was having it on my phone, tablet, laptop and TV. I’m an avid Netflix fan, and yes sometimes the movie might pause due to the internet being so slow, but I had hoped it wouldn’t become an issue.

Once I accepted the job, it was too late to back out on a worry. I just hoped it would be able to keep up with what I needed it to do.

I contacted my provider and they reassured me that I was getting high speeds and it would be fine, but I feel they told untruths, because it’s not actually fine.

I was expecting things to improve soon. There was plenty of talk about the upgrades. Eir had mentioned where I live, people in the area had spoken about it.

I really felt like it was around the next corner almost. It was such a blow when I found out Eir was pulling out.

It has a huge impact on my work. If I disconnect, I don’t get paid.

Also, my employer knows if I disconnect, as it is all tracked. If I disconnect, I can’t use the tools necessary to do my job, speak to my colleagues or contact my customers.

‘Rural people are forgotten about’

I have spoken of my fears to some of my close family and friends, and they are all worried for me.

I’m very sad and fearful, it’s horrible. I feel like the people of rural Ireland have been let down, with broken promise after broken promise.

To be honest, I have no idea what the future holds for me now. I’m just not sure if it is a sustainable thing for me, given the issues I already experience.

I feel like my employer will come to the end of their tether too – who will crack first? Me, and leave? Or them, letting me go because I’m not fulfilling my contract.

I wouldn’t be able to afford to move, I also like where I live – is that what it comes down to? Having to move because in this day and age, we cannot be serviced by basic needs?

Ireland really is in the dark ages, and rural Ireland even further behind that. No transportation links, no garda stations, terrible roads, no broadband. All because of where you live. Rural people are forgotten about, because we obviously don’t matter.

Read: Rural broadband: Compensation for homeowners as new law to give access to private land>

Read: Why did Eir quit the State’s broadband plan, and what now for rural Ireland?>

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