Pictured are Colin Cunningham, Cellnex and Anthony Hanniffy, Tullamore and District Chamber of Commerce officially launching Get Connected in Portarlington. Picture: Tom O’Hanlon Photography

Major drive to improve mobile broadband coverage in Offaly

A new initiative aimed at improving mobile phone coverage blackspots in Offaly has just been launched.

Get Connected is being supported by Cellnex, the telecoms infrastructure operator which has over 1,700 telecoms sites across the country, and Offaly is one of the first two counties in the country to have the new initiative rolled out.

With many people working and studying from home over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has never been more important for householders to have good broadband connectivity, yet research from ComReg shows that one in four households (27%) find mobile broadband not good enough for home working, and one in four people (73%) strongly value being able to access and use their mobile phone during the on-going pandemic.

Get Connected is a community-driven initiative, and as part of their Offaly launch, Cellnex have launched a “Community Call” through its website www.getconnected.ie which invites communities across the county to come together and request a review of the mobile coverage in their local area to see if a solution can be delivered.

Reviews will be carried out at no cost to residents, and to initiate a review Offaly local communities are asked to come together and nominate a single point of contact to make a submission to Get Connected.

Cellnex will then carry out a detailed survey to assess the area’s suitability for improve connectivity and will work to deliver a solution for all residents living in the area.

Speaking at the Offaly launch in Portarlington, Cellnex Ireland Managing Director, Colin Cunningham, said Get Connected is “a real opportunity for people in Offaly to have their say in what their future looks like and to come together to support better connectivity for their area.”

He added that Cellnex is giving communities across Offaly “the firm promise” that they will work with them to “try to ensure that they get the infrastructure they need.”

President of Tullamore & District Chamber of Commerce, Anthony Hanniffy welcomed “any initiative that promotes connectivity in rural Ireland” and added that it is the firm belief of the Chamber that “remote working will become a normal part of life and we need to deliver tools to our employees and businesses to give them an opportunity to succeed in an increasingly competitive and connected world.”

Since its launch in 2013, Cellnex has invested over €3m in constructing more than 25 new telecoms towers in locations throughout Laois and Offaly, with the latest tower being constructed in Clonmacnoise.

Last month, the telecoms company supported Offaly County Council’s launch of e-denderry, which establishes the north Offaly town as a leader in Ireland for the provision of public services through leveraging the benefits of technology.

Edenderry is now the first town in Ireland with sensors and monitoring devices deployed by Cellnex to enhance the provision of parking and litter collection.

Communities who want to get involved in the Get Connnected initiative are urged to answer the “Community Call” by accessing the dedicated website for the project www.getconnected.ie

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