Cignal announces €2m investment into Laois broadband connectivity

24 Sep 2019

The Rock of Dunamase in Laois. Image: Bob/

Cignal is installing new towers provided by Laois-based antenna manufacturer Alpha Wireless, which will support the roll-out of high-speed fixed wireless broadband.

Today (24 September), Irish telecoms infrastructure company Cignal announced plans to complete a €2m investment to improve mobile and broadband connectivity in Laois.

The firm is in the process of building more than €2m worth of new towers in Laois as part of a €25m nationwide investment programme. Cignal made the announcement this morning at the Laois Chamber of Commerce’s launch in Killenard.

Over the last 18 months, the company has added 12 new towers in locations including Killenard, Portarlington, Stradbally, Errill and Sheffield Cross. Three further towers are expected to be built by the end of the year in Ballylynan, Mountrath and Rathdowney.

In a statement, Cignal said that these new towers will address coverage blackspots while supporting the roll-out of high-speed fixed wireless broadband for the 30,000 residents of the county that will be within the coverage area of the new sites.

“Cignal has been working closely with Laois County Council to help identify where new infrastructure will enhance services to the homes and businesses in the country who still don’t have any access to broadband,” the company added.

‘This approach will help encourage colocation of services and reduce the unnecessary proliferation of towers’

It will source equipment for the project from Laois-based antenna manufacturer Alpha Wireless, which provides smart antennae solutions to mobile phone companies around the world.

Alpha Wireless currently employs more than 100 people in Laois. Cignal’s contract with the company exceeds the value of €500,000, the telecoms company noted.

Local investment

Cignal CEO Colin Cunningham said: “We are working very closely with our customers and the council to identify poorly served areas and have sought to address them in our investment programme.

“This approach will help encourage colocation of services and reduce the unnecessary proliferation of towers. It is a template we now hope to replicate in other counties, but as a Laois resident I am pleased and proud that it was the county we covered first.”

Fergal Lawlor, CEO of Alpha Wireless, added: “We are proud to be a Laois-based business that is exporting equipment all over the world. It is great to be part of this important investment project in our home county, which will see Alpha’s leading edge technology helping improve Laois’s digital infrastructure.”

Antoinette Brennan, broadband officer at Laois County Council, said that the investment is “great news for the county”.

“Over the last 12 months the company has worked with us to understand where we have been receiving complaints about poor mobile and broadband services and then incorporating this feedback into its investment plans,” she added.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Cignal would be acquired by Cellnex Telecom in a €210m deal, leaving Cignal’s existing management team and staff running the business. The company was founded in 2015 after it acquired 300 tower locations from the Irish state forestry company Coillte. It now has a portfolio of more than 550 sites.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic