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Energy Bill 2016 [Seanad]\Second Stage
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Snippet Contents:

It opens up a global market to rural tourism interests and small artisan producers. It is also a huge resource for schools, private homes and organisations. Without broadband, expensive electronic equipment such as white boards bought by primary schools is undermined, while efforts by Age Action to promote computer literacy among the elderly are thwarted. Irish Rural Network estimates that up to 10,000 jobs are lost in rural areas every year because there is a poor broadband service or none at all. Our cities have world class Internet speeds and distribution but rural areas rank among the worst served regions of Europe. Rural broadband is no longer a luxury but an economic necessity. There is no more important issue in terms of economic infrastructure and the future prospects of rural Ireland. Broadband will make rural Ireland sustainable into the future. Since 2004 there have been four Government initiatives to improve broadband, all of which have worked to a point, but major problems remain. Broadband has become faster and more places than ever are served, but 40% of the population and, geographically, 95% of the Republic still lacks commercial coverage. Ireland has some of the most pronounced two tier coverage in Europe. High speeds in urban areas have obscured poor coverage elsewhere.