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Community Broadband Scheme for the Upperchurch Drombane Area – Broadband Benefits

Community Broadband Scheme for the Upperchurch Drombane Area
The Community Broadband Scheme is a government initiative that provides grants to Broadband providers so as to encourage them to provide broadband to rural communities and towns whose population does not exceed 1500 people (as of the census of 2002). The second round of applications for this funding is currently open and interested communities have until the end of April to send in an application form, this form must include the list of people who are interested in broadband as well as the broadband provider details.
It is necessary therefore to assess who would be interested in using broadband, if there is a sufficient level of interest from the community, it is envisaged that we will be able to identify a broadband provider who will be able to provide the service. In order to explain what broadband is and the various costs and benefits, we have prepared a list of frequently asked questions and answers.
1. What is broadband?
Broadband is high speed Internet access. It is typically 10 –20 times faster than dial up Internet access (512K – 1024K , a “dial up” modem operates at 54K max). If you use the Internet at the moment you must use a modem and your telephone line, this means that your phone is engaged when you are “online”. With broadband it is possible to access the Internet and use the phone to make and receive calls at the same time.
2. How much does it cost?
Broadband typically costs between 35 and 40 Euros per month (this includes VAT). This is a flat rate charge, which means that you can use it day or night for as long as you want.
While this may seem at first expensive, you must consider that if you use the Internet during the day between 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. (Monday to Friday), using your normal “dial up” service, which uses your phone line it costs 3.50 per hour, after 6.00 p.m. and at weekends it costs 75 – 95 cents per hour. So if you used the Internet at peak time for 11 hours in a month, using “dial up”. It would cost you 38.50. With broadband you do not have to worry how long or at what time you are using the Internet.
3.Can I not wait for Eircom or one of the other phone companies to provide it?
As of March 05 Eircom have no plans to provide broadband to people in the Upperchurch-Drombane area. Other phone companies usually wait until Eircom are providing broadband before they offer it as Eircom sells the broadband to them.
Even if Eircom were to provide broadband, it is on a house by house basis as to whether you can receive broadband or not. Your home must be no more than 3 –4 Km from the local telephone exchange and your telephone line must be of reasonable quality and not split (Sometimes a line can be split so as to provide a telephone service to several houses in a remote area). For example there are areas in Thurles that cannot avail of broadband, the same is true for parts of Dublin.
4. Apart from the monthly cost are there any other costs?
There would be a once off installation cost for the installation of broadband equipment and connecting it to your computer. This would be in the region of 200 – 250 Euro approx. (It depends on the service provider and the number of people interested)

5. What benefits can I get from broadband?

Because broadband is 10 – 20 times faster than the normal dial up Internet it allows people to use the internet more productively. These include:
(a)Voice Over IP (Internet Telephony) – It is possible to use your computer to make telephone calls. Companies such as skype (www.skype.com) allow users to ring abroad for very reasonable rates (e.g. America, Europe and Australia landlines cost 2 cent per minute, mobiles are more expensive)
(b)Shopping online – With broadband shopping and booking flights online is a more enjoyable experience as pages load 10 –20 time faster when compared to the standard dial up access.
(c) Emailing Digital Photos – If someone emails you a standard digital photo, it would take 196 seconds per photo using dial up to download. Using broadband it would take 10 – 20 seconds per photo.
(d) Downloading security updates – Microsoft release all security updates for your computer via the Internet, these updates can be quiet large, a broadband connection means that these updates can be downloaded in a short period of time when compared to dial up access.
6.If Eircom can’t provide broadband, how is it that other companies are able to provide broadband?
Eircom’s broadband product uses telephone lines (technical name is ADSL), there are other ways to receive broadband however. These are:
(a) Wi-Fi (Wireless) – This uses antenna which points at a transmitter, all broadband benefits mentioned above are available. This is by far the most popular option as it is typically the most cost effective and faster of the two.
(b) Satellite – This requires a satellite dish, not all broadband services are available as there are delays in transmitting the signal from a satellite 28,000 miles in the sky. Voice Over IP (Internet telephony) and video conferencing is not compatible with Satellite. In general this service is more expensive and the speeds when compared to some Wi-Fi packages are slower.

7.Can you guarantee that I will get broadband?

Broadband access is subject to a survey that will be carried by a broadband provider. The more people in a particular area that are interested in broadband the better the possibility that a broadband service will be provided. We will endeavour to ensure that all interested people will have access to broadband, but we cannot unfortunately guarantee it.
We had our initial meeting last week and are now in the process of gauging local interest. If you are interested in broadband and are from the upperchurch drombane area send me an email to the following address
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