Poor broadband has ‘massive knock-on effect’ for rural retailers
Following the appointment of Richard Bruton as Minister Naughten's successor, retailers' experience shows the neccessity of rolling out National Broadband Plan at earliest possible date
15 October 2018
Following the recent resignation of Communications Minister Denis Naughten over controversy surrounding the bidding process for the National Broadband Plan, retailers have spoken out about how their businesses have been affected by poor network connections.
Speaking to The Irish Independent, Gerry and Irene Rice, who run Dunleavy’s – the Corner Shop in Maugherow, Co. Sligo, said slow or no download speeds had “a massive knock-on effect” on their store.
Issues included the shop being without an internet connection for more than 24 hours.
With the network being used on a daily basis to process services including card payments, the Lottery, bill pay and top-ups, slow speeds can also cause significant inconvenience.
In some cases, it can take up to four or five minutes for a card payment to go through, which causes customer embarrassment “because they feel like their card is not going to go through”.
Given the increasing number of customers who now regularly pay by card instead of cash, it can also lead to lost sales for the store.
“People coming through the door, strangers or people you know – a lot of people nowadays, probably about 60pc, are paying by card,” Gerry said. “If they’re only able to pay by card we’re losing business or we’re going to have to give them credit or turn strangers away,” he added.
RGDATA’s director general Tara Buckley also expressed concern over the frustration poor broadband connections cause for members in rural locations. “This is an extremely frustrating issue for many of our members in rural areas where broadband speed is very slow,” Buckley told ShelfLife.
“Local shops provide so many services now that are reliant on broadband – payment services, lotto, bill pay – to name a few. It is very hard to have to apologise all the time to customers for something that is really out of your control,” she added.