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Broadband proposal for Tipp’s rural communities

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The European Union is being called on to back a proposal to bridge the digital divide in rural communities of Tipperary which are unable to access fibre or wireless broadband services.

The Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Mid-West Office (formerly Mid West Regional Office) and Clare-based Slí Nua Development are partners of an EU-funded Satellite Broadband for European Regions project (SABER).

The network met in Brussels today to launch a Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme which it said should be implemented by the members of the EU and their regional governments to encourage awareness and take-up of satellite broadband solutions across Europe’s most rural regions.

The meeting brought together representatives from 21 European regional authorities, satellite experts and key influencers, including Eutelsat, SES Broadband Services, Airbus Defence and Space, to examine how to accelerate broadband adoption in rural areas.

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Majella O’Brien, EU Projects Officer, SERA Mid West Office said the Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme would be of assistance to communities in the Mid West which have yet to benefit under successive National Broadband schemes and are unlikely to be able to access affordable broadband services in the near future.

“Satellite broadband is a practical and viable solution today but the expense associated with setting up and subscribing to the service can be prohibitive for many. Unlike in North America and Australia, Europe has been relatively slow to drive awareness, acceptance and adoption of satellite technology,” she explained.

Ms. O’Brien continued: “Satellite broadband is a viable option for many rural communities which find themselves in a broadband black spot. The Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme is one method of increasing its take up and helping rural households and business to bridge the digital divide.”

Led by CSI-Piemonte in Italy, the 24-month SABER project is partially EU-funded and involves 26 partners, 21 regional authorities and ICT public and private organisations supporting regions in broadband deployment representing 13 countries. During its lifespan, the SABER project has published important, practical information, guidelines and toolkits (some available in several languages) to help national and regional governments close the European Digital Divide by using satellite broadband technology.

For more visit www.project-saber.eu.

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