Cavan tech centre emerges as fifth Vodafone-Siro Gigabit Hub

27 Nov 2017109 Shares

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

From left: Stephen O’Connor, corporate affairs director, Siro; Liam O’Brien, director of strategy and external affairs, Vodafone Ireland; Monica Dhamale, Apridata; and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, TD. Image: Barry Cronin

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Cavan is in the eye of a digital storm.

Vodafone and Siro have named Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre (CITC) as the fifth location for the national Gigabit Hub initiative.

The initiative provides 1Gbps broadband connectivity to each hub for free for two years.

‘Access to high-speed broadband in today’s economy is as vital to infrastructure as canals and roadways were to businesses in the last century’
– HEATHER HUMPHREYS, TD

Siro is a €450m joint venture between Vodafone and ESB. It recently pulled out of the Irish Government’s National Broadband Plan to focus on its efforts to deliver high-speed broadband to 500,000 homes across 51 towns in Ireland.

As the fifth such hub to receive the award, CITC joins the Ludgate Hub (Skibbereen), HQ Tralee, Dundalk RDC and The Mill (Drogheda), which have all been connected to the Siro 100pc fibre optic network.

Launched earlier this year, the Vodafone-Siro Gigabit Hub initiative was designed to spark a digital transformation in 15 towns across Ireland, and encourage job and economic growth in regional towns.

The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, which was the first hub connected by Siro in July 2016, is an ‘exemplar project’ that was shortlisted for the European Commission Broadband Awards in 2016 and is on course to create 500 jobs over the next five years in West Cork.

“Access to high-speed broadband in today’s economy is as vital to infrastructure as canals and roadways were to businesses in the last century, and this project perfectly complements Government policy of encouraging commercial investment in broadband,” said Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, TD, who is also a local representative for Cavan and Monaghan.

“The initiative also illustrates how local people and business interests can work together to generate economic activity, and I would like to commend everyone involved for their hard work and commitment.”

The promise of a Gigabit Society

CITC was established to promote innovation and technology support in the Cavan and border region by providing local businesses with education, training, technology and facilities needed to support enterprise development and create economic growth, as well as providing a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

‘Gigabit connectivity is the starting point in the creation of a Gigabit Society across Ireland, which will offer employees a better work-life balance and allow them to pursue their careers in towns across Ireland without sacrificing their quality of life’
– LIAM O’BRIEN

State agencies such as the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and IDA Ireland are colocated at CITC, with all support and training carried out by the LEO delivered at the centre. The hub, incorporating Cavan Enterprise Centre, currently accommodates 10 companies, which employ more than 310 people.

“The unique natural surroundings of Co Cavan underpin the success of its living and working communities,” said Vincent Reynolds, CEO of CITC.

“Inspiration breeds innovation, which, in the right environment, breeds success, and this was the motivating factor behind the establishment of CITC. As a recipient of Vodafone and Siro’s 1Gbps broadband connection, we will be able to further drive innovation and help companies at the centre reach greater heights.”

In 2015, Siro selected Cavan as the first town to trial the new technology, which saw 300 homes in the Aughnaskerry and Rocklands estates equipped with a 100pc fibre-to-the-building connection.

“The Siro network now extends to over 4,000 homes and businesses in Cavan town, which all have access to the best connectivity in Ireland, rivalling international hubs like Hong Kong and Tokyo,” said Stephen O’Connor, corporate affairs director at Siro.

“Good connectivity is vital for regional towns competing for investment and jobs, and having a 1Gbps network in the town and a strategic centre like the CITC makes Cavan attractive for entrepreneurs to establish their business or for companies looking to invest.”

Data game-changer

One such company benefiting from the Siro connection is Apridata, which was established in 2014 as a business intelligence and data analytics consultancy. With customers and prospects in locations all over the world, Apridata chose Cavan because of its amenities, quality of life and sense of community.

“CITC’s Gigabit connectivity is a game-changer for Apridata. With customers and prospects in locations as diverse as the Caribbean and Sweden, broadband is critical for our company,” explained Richard Stafford, founder and CEO of Apridata.

“For our services, geographic location is not a limiting factor; we can market, sell and deliver digitally, with video conferencing playing a vital role in our sales process. To succeed, we need the bandwidth in place to ensure we deliver a professional experience. You lose credibility if there’s any lag or if your call unexpectedly drops due to poor broadband.”

Liam O’Brien, director of strategy and external affairs at Vodafone Ireland, said: “Gigabit connectivity is the starting point in the creation of a Gigabit Society across Ireland, which will offer employees a better work-life balance and allow them to pursue their careers in towns across Ireland without sacrificing their quality of life, rather than being forced to move to cities or abroad.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com