Dundalk innovation hub lands two-year 1GB broadband freebie

10 May 2017

From left: Trevor Lucy, director of engineering at Siro; Ann Campbell, president of Dundalk IT; Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English, TD; and Debbie Ward, regional manager at Vodafone Ireland. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

The number of venues hooked up to gigabit fibre broadband is growing, with Siro’s latest move benefiting Dundalk IT.

The regional spread of establishments connected to gigabit fibre broadband in Ireland is becoming more and more impressive.

In April, Wexford saw the official opening of Gorey’s Hatch Labs, an innovation hub.

In the same week, Kerry revealed two separate developments of its own. The Dingle Hub was armed with 1GB broadband through Eir, with HQTralee receiving free 1GB broadband from Siro – a Vodafone and ESB initiative.

The latter was part of a wider initiative that will ultimately see centres in Drogheda, Letterkenny, Cavan and Carlow gain the same support.

Dundalk IT (DkIT), however, is the latest confirmed location.

Claiming to have supported more than 1,220 entrepreneurs and incubated 170 knowledge-based start-up enterprises since its creation 28 years ago, the Regional Development Centre joins HQTralee and the Ludgate Hub in the Siro network.

Siro said that its broadband is far more powerful than the standard offering in Dublin, giving businesses in DkIT the same level of broadband connectivity available in leading international hubs such as Tokyo and Hong Kong.

One company on site has been benefiting from the new speeds for several months now, but the entire hub will be hooked up from here on out.

“Strong connectivity is crucially important to companies of all sizes in the north-east as they continue to compete in today’s global economy,” said Ann Campbell, president of DkIT.

“Access to Siro’s 100pc fibre broadband network will deliver broadband speeds up to 10 times faster than existing speeds for our incubation companies, which will dramatically improve their digital effectiveness and enhance the institute’s ability to attract innovative start-ups to the north-east region.”

Siro and Vodafone said that similar deals at business hubs in the other areas mentioned above will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The economic and social benefits that gigabit connectivity can bring to companies in regional Ireland are almost incalculable,” said Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland.

O’Leary said these positives include providing for a better employee work-life balance, as well as encouraging regional business to remain both in Ireland and in rural areas.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic