Broadband Intervention Services

Local authorities may support broadband service operators to provide assistance to members of the public to help them with broadband installation issues and to provide alternative services until full fibre broadband is available.

Airband Project

On 26th June 2020 the Minister for Rural and Community Development launched a pilot initiative in partnership with Microsoft Ireland, the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and five Local Authorities to deliver free broadband services to selected second-level students. Carlow County Library was chosen as the first pilot location.

The initiative will use Microsoft’s cutting-edge Rural Airband technology to deliver high-speed broadband from the libraries in Carlow, Donegal, Kilkenny, Mayo and Waterford. Up to 20 households in Carlow will benefit from this broadband project. The pilot scheme will be targeted primarily at students in Delivering Equality of Opportunity (DEIS) schools. Microsoft’s Airband technology uses Television White Space (TVWS) technology which are unused blocks of broadcast spectrum located between the frequencies assigned to television stations. TVWS can be used to create wireless broadband connections where no line of sight is possible.

The first of these Airband connections in Carlow will launch in the first quarter of 2021. The pilot will be reviewed on a 6-monthly basis, and this review will assist the pilot partners in determining the potential for using this new technology to connect students.

 Remote Working Hubs

Covid-19 has changed the way we work forever. While the need for accessible and affordable highspeed broadband extends far beyond the current pandemic, a newfound urgency has been added to broadband expansion. Access to broadband and digital services has become essential for people to deal with school closures and facilitate remote working requirements. Recent research has shown that 80% of the population would favour a hybrid model - a mixture of working from the office and working remotely. The recent pandemic has brought about much discussion on remote working. Many people say that while there are benefits to working from home, shorter commutes and environmental benefits to name but two, there are also drawbacks. Two of the main negatives that were highlighted at the Digital Strategy Public Consultation were social isolation and managing distractions. This has encouraged many people to look at remote working hubs as an alternative solution. Remote working hubs help to counteract the risk of isolation and loneliness that many remote workers claim to have experienced. These hubs can provide a sense of community, a “ready-made business community”. There are a number of Remote Working Hubs in Carlow with plans for additional facilities across the county. These facilities vary in their type of offering but all provide coworking opportunities including hot desks, dedicated desks and office space.