Poor phone coverage is one of the most frustrating things to deal with when you need it for your work and day-to-day life – and a new initiative supported by telecoms operator Cellnex is aiming to address that through engaging with communities around Laois.
Launched today the Get Connected initiative is aimed at improving the connectivity for communities in Laois who are suffering from poor mobile phone coverage.
Get Connected is seeking to improve mobile coverage in the areas which need it most, by asking the community to come together and request a review of their services.
Get Connected is being supported by Cellnex, the telecoms infrastructure operator with over 1,700 telecoms sites around the country, and Laois is one of the first two counties where it is being rolled out with the support of Laois Chamber of Commerce and Laois GAA for this community-driven initiative.
The intention is to expand Get Connected into a nationwide project supporting communities in all 26 counties, and ending the scourge of mobile blackspots
The objective is to mobilise support within communities to participate in the planning and delivery of mobile connectivity in their local areas.
Get Connected is officially launching a ‘Community Call’ through its website which invites communities to come together to request a review of the mobile coverage in their local area to see if a solution to their mobile connectivity issue can be delivered.
To initiate a review, which will be carried out by Cellnex at no cost to residents, communities should seek to get a group of people who have a shared interest in getting improved coverage, and then 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 and work to deliver a feasible solution.
Recent research from ComReg shows that three in four people (73%) strongly value being able to access and use their mobile phone during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The research also shows that one in four households (27%) find mobile broadband not good enough for home working at a time when it has never been more important to ensure that householders are as well connected as possible.
Cellnex Ireland Managing Director and Laois resident Colin Cunningham said: “Get Connected is a real opportunity for people in Laois to have a say in what their future looks like and to come together to support better connectivity for their area.
“Cellnex is giving communities the firm promise that we will work with them to try to ensure that they get the infrastructure that they need.
“I hope that local communities will take this opportunity to seek an improved service and work with us to deliver solutions for their areas.”
Ciaran Finane, President of Laois Chamber of Commerce said: “Laois is a great place to live, work and do business.
“Central to this is the importance of connectivity and the ability of people working from home to have excellent mobile and broadband coverage. Unfortunately, not everywhere in Laois has suitable connectivity.
“Get Connected and Cellnex are empowering communities to work together and find realistic solutions to improve their rural connectivity.”
“Communities coming together is so important to the fabric of life in Ireland, and every community should have the ability to connect with others,” said Laois GAA chairman Peter O’Neill.
“The impact on people who struggle to stay connected cannot be understated and I welcome the Get Connected project and the positive force it will bring to the people of Laois and right around Ireland.”
Since its launch in 2013 Cellnex has invested over €3m constructing more than 25 new telecoms towers in locations throughout counties Laois and Offaly.
For example, in Killenard, a new tower has been a vital source of connectivity through the recent pandemic period of working from home.
In Clonmacnoise in Offaly a new tower is currently under construction aimed at enhancing the mobile coverage to the area along with helping improve mobile reception for the hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the famous ancient monastery.
The business launched in 2015 with the acquisition of 300 tower locations from Irish state forestry company Coillte, and through further acquisitions and investment now has as portfolio of over 1,700 tower sites.
Cellnex Telecom is Europe’s leading operator of wireless telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructures with a portfolio of more than 128,000 sites, of which approximately 71,000 are already operative, and the rest in the process of finalisation or planned roll-outs up to 2030.
Cellnex operates in Spain, Italy, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Poland.