From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
Western People 4th June 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
8, Jun 2003 - 17:42

NWR lose on casting vote

The Western’s top story concerns the details of how North West Radio lost their licence by a slim vote of 6 of the ten members of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI). The casting vote of the chairperson gave the licence to a new franchise Ocean FM Radio. Paul Claffey commented on the minutes of the meeting of BCI at which he lost the licence: "The Commission talks about advertising breaches. Almost all radio stations have had ad breaches and NWR’s breaches have been a matter of interpretation," he said.

At present there is no appeal so it looks like MNWR is set to become just MWR. I was never that sure about the Mid West part of it anyway as I always thought that the Limerick Clare region was the Mid West but that’s geography and bad geography is hardly the reason for losing the licence. The Western doesn’t enlighten us as to what precisely constitutes an "advertising breach". Too much advertising perhaps? Obviously MWNR has been hugely popular over the past 10 years – it wouldn’t be my cup of tea at all but then I’m not a country music fan. There was a right slanging match in the run up to the licence renewal application with dispersions cast regarding the particular audience slice that NWR caters for by Packie Bonner’s Ocean FM consortium. Perhaps Donegal and Sligo will end up with a rap-techno-hip-hop-rave station? Funnily enough Paul Claffey starts a new airwaves column in the Western this week and the first article concerns the NWR licence.

Ballinlough and Ballyhaunis to get wireless Internet

The Western reports that Ballyhaunis and Ballinlough are to be among two communities in the West to receive high-speed wireless internet access in the coming months. The Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly has announced details of the new wireless internet service to rural towns and communities throughout the region. This new service will deliver high-speed Internet connectivity to rural locations not included in the Government’s National broadband rollout. The provision of Internet services to rural areas is considered essential to facilitating tele-working, e-commerce, home based learning and other applied services.

Where’s Ballinlough? Just joking but it’s not a metropolis. If the project is subsidised it may work. But if they charge 50 euros per month or even 30 euros per month the take-up will probably be abysmal. Remember the questionnaire published in the Connaught a few months back to see if people were interested in broadband connections her in town? Even though the population of Castlebar is much bigger than Ballyhaunis and Ballinlough put together and multiplied by 10, there simply were not anywhere near enough applicants for the proposers to consider the investment necessary. Of course the huge cost of connecting a line to the nearest Internet point of presence (still Dublin?) did make the economics very dodgy in the first place. Roll on Real Broadband – of course the loss of the gas pipeline has even further delayed Castlebar’s chance of having cheap broadband.

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