WHILE OUT WEST in Ireland, I'm reading front page Mayo News coverage that cites why Ireland's National Broadband Scheme will not deliver for the primary audience it should serve. Neither of the devices at left will get me a sustained 3G signal when I sit a few miles from the centre of Castlebar and the gear I'm using is essentially the technology used in the NBS. A €223m investment will see the Irish mobile phone network 3 extend its network throughout broadband black spots.  Some salient points from the article deserve mention.
The Wrong Maps Were Used. Instead of using maps that showed where wired broadband could not be provided, the ill-informed Minister for Communications opted to base his decisions on the notional coverage areas advertised by the wireless mobile telecos. This fallacious reasoning--one that suggests tens of thousands in Ireland have broadband because a commercial company says it's in the air just over the hill--now places parts of County Mayo into a limbo where the populace cannot get a wired signal, cannot receive a three-bar 3G signal and cannot avail of State aid to get fixed wireless. The Minister has been fooled by his own delusionary maps, thinking there's coverage where none exists. Consequently, parts of Louisburgh, Foxford, Kiltimaugh and part of Achill Island are left dangling their dongles in hope of a passing signal.
3G Dongles Cannot Power Office Networks. Some aggrieved areas of County Mayo hoped to connect several office workstations to broadband. This will be impossible with a single 3G dongle serving a small office. This kind of usage would be pricey or it would erode nearby over-the-air connections if several people hooked up to the 3G mast simultaneously.
Commercial over-the-air service is a fall-back service. After several years of using mobile broadband myself, I would not sink my time or money into plumbing an office cluster with mobile broadband technology. Doing this with limited Exchequer resources is a major mistake in recessionary times.
A few years ago, the Irish tech community screamed with alarm when €50m was spent for faulty e-voting machines. The National Broadband Scheme wastes more than four times the money squandered on voting machines. The NBS needs to be curtailed.
Anton McNulty -- "Broadband scheme is 'inadequate' and 'flawed'" on the front page of The Mayo News, 27 Jan 09.
Bernie Goldbach -- "Irish Rural Broadband Hoax" on Inside View, 23 January 2009.
Sent mail2blog using O2-EDGE service in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland.