85pc of IDA project wins in Cork due to availability of broadband

9 May 2014

The availability of broadband via metropolitan area networks (MANs) has been credited with attracting 85pc of IDA-backed investments to Cork.

In the 2004-2013 period, the IDA announced a total of 6,820 jobs for Cork-based in foreign direct investment firms and 5,824 (just over 85pc) are in companies that are connected to the local MAN.

“The MANs programme was originally developed to bring greater platform competition for the delivery of telecoms in regional Ireland,” explained Conal Henry, chief executive of E-net.

“You have to remember that when the MANs were launched, they addressed the problems with the single supplier monopoly that had previously existed by creating a completely alternative network.

“Importantly, the MAN are operated in an open-access fashion, meaning that all telcos can have access. This model is contrary to the exclusive way that traditional operators’ networks functioned and allows for competition in a way that had not previously happened.”

E-net holds the concession to manage, maintain and operate two phases of the Irish State’s Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) programme.

Broadband as vital as water, light and heat for businesses

“High-speed broadband connectivity is as important as water, light and heat for modern businesses,” said Leo Clancy, divisional manager, ICT, IDA Ireland.

“The progress made by the industry in ensuring that we have widespread high quality broadband available to multinational companies investing here has contributed strongly to foreign direct investment growth.”

The MAN infrastructure enables 94 towns and cities across the country with an advanced technology platform capable of delivering cutting-edge communications and information services.

The MANs programme was also undertaken to ensure that provincial cities and towns would secure a greater share of the overall amount of foreign direct investment being won for Ireland by IDA Ireland.

“While the MANs do not directly create these FDI jobs, they certainly enhance the capacity of the cities and towns with these fibre-broadband networks to compete for these projects and remove any telecoms barriers.

“The success of this strategy is dramatically underlined by the performance of the Cork MAN, which is also the largest of the 88 MANs in the country,” Henry said.

Cork City image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years