12:30 - 13:00
Weaving Technology into Rural Society and Enriching It


Rural communities are under threat. Technology has the capability to further erode them or rescue and energise them.


The focus on the urban/rural digital divide has traditionally focused on the lack of adequate broadband.  Rural economies and communities stand to potentially gain exponentially more with the eventual delivery of internet speeds that are standard in cities.  However faster speeds are only the start of the challenge.  

Enabling collaboration, building innovative delivery models, training, education, providing hardware, creating meaningful services and carefully weaving technology into the fabric of rural society is crucial.  

The benefits are clear but enriching rural communities rather than further isolating people is a challenge.

Eoin will use his own personal experience and interviews with experts to shed light on the challenges/problems and debate possible solutions.

In her talk Joan will explore - Is rural broadband the technological equivalent of Japanese Knotweed, the non-native invasive species first introduced as an ornamental garden plant without full appreciation of the devastating impact of its rampant root system on the foundations of homes, business premises and roads?   When our wifi is getting more investment than our water supply then are our priorities out of sync?

For many living in rural Ireland, better broadband might just mean hearing the bad news sooner and sharing it faster.  How do we make sure the technology preserves and promotes what is best and celebrate the opportunities for growth?