Archive for the News Category

Broadband SME grants | Fast broadband for the Trillick area?

fibre-vans

Anyone who doesn’t live in a city or large town is well aware of the patchy coverage for mobile phones in rural areas and the ‘broadband lottery’ is another well-known issue.

While Trillick has access to basic broadband, by today’s standards, it’s little more than adequate at best (the old cliché about ‘trying to eat pizza through a straw’ comes to mind) and is prone to frequent problems – connections can drop several times a day.  It’s all part of an outdated attitude that sees broadband as a ‘luxury’ item – certainly, it would not be permitted to have electricity supplies that tripped out several times daily as a matter of course!

Even at its best, our ‘contestable’ local broadband capacity struggles to keep pace with modern requirements.  The speed you’re quoted is always misleadingly described as ‘up to’ whatever speed – because in practice you will never get close to that quoted speed.  Also, they only quote download speeds – this is because equally-important upload speeds are so slow that ISPs are embarrassed even to quote them.  This has obvious implications for e.g., people running a professional photography website or anyone trying to upload graphic-heavy documents (e.g., with maps and plans) to a virtual data room as part of homeworking in an office job.  If you’re a small business or homeworker and you need to have parallel capacity for web, e-mail and audio-visual tele-conferencing, you will struggle.

This has implications for numerous people – local businesses, students, homeworkers, anyone with Net TV etc.

However, there are a couple of positive developments:

First, if you are a small business, you may be eligible for a £3,000 grant to install super-fast broadband.  This started as a ‘superfast connected cities’ initiative in local cities.  While it has been now been extended to rural parts, it hasn’t been overly-publicised and, while the grants are set to finish early next year, there’s a rumour that they may be terminated earlier than that – so if you feel you could benefit, get your application in now.  To qualify, you must:

  1. Employ fewer than 250 people
  2. Have a turnover of less than €50m and/or have a balance sheet of less than €43m
  3. Have received less than €200k in public grants in the last 3 years
  4. Not operate in a sector which  is excluded from the Scheme
  5. Not have a parent company or linked enterprise which does not meet the eligibility criteria

There are no strings attached and the grant would transform your connection speed.  Depending on available technologies, your connection could be improved ten-fold, or more, at no additional installation cost.

More details here.

Second, for anyone who isn’t a small business, according to BT, local exchanges have now been ‘fibre-enabled’ (you may have seen the vans out recently) and should have fibre by early next year.

When we get better details, we’ll keep you posted.

 

 

‘Library in a Box’ for Trillick

Trillick Post Office has been chosen as one of only three post offices to avail of the joint Libraries NI / DARD ‘Library in a Box’ initiative (in association with Trillick 2020) to provide library facilities in selected local post offices.  This commendable library out-reach initiative is for an initial trial-period of 12 months.  Books and DVDs will be changed regularly and can be tailored to meet local needs and interests – just mention to PJ next time you’re in the Post Office.

Gone are the days of filling in library cards etc.  Since this is an official library service, you use your normal library smart card and just swipe both it and the book when borrowing a book:

Trillick LIAB small

Also, in case you’ve read the lot in a fortnight(!), Libraries NI mobile library stops outside the Post Office every second Tuesday (23 June / 7 July and every 2 weeks thereafter) from 10.00am – 11.30am.

Various studies attest to the learning and enjoyment value of paper as opposed to e-books / screens; and this new facility will be a convenient resource for local parents and local schools to ensure that children have an opportunity to sample some proper books.

In an age of increasing cut-backs in public services, it’s important to remember this is a trial period and that we get into the habit of using this handy new service as much as possible, to ensure that it becomes a permanent feature after the 12 months trial period.

It’ll be all white on the night …

Up to the late 1970s / early 1980s, street lamps gave off a white light.  The various oil crises of the 1970s accelerated the move to more energy-efficient sodium lamps.  The most obvious change was that they gave off a soft orange light.

LED lighting is more efficient again – around 60% more energy efficient than sodium lights and they also last over twice as long.  Given these advantages, local councillor Stephen McCann and others have been working to upgrade Trillick’s street lighting; and Main Street has now been equipped with superb new LED street lamps.  For anyone under 35, the phasing out of the old sodium lights is the end of a lighting era, but for older people, the new white lighting is reminiscent of the white lighting we knew 35 years ago.  Of course, while the colour may be the same, the LED technology is all new – and the restrained design of the new lamps complements the character of the village perfectly.

Here, ‘old meets new’ on the approach to Trillick from the Kilskeery side:

Old and new lights2

New lights from the top of the town:

Lights top of town 2

 

 

 

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