Exemplar Network to go live in four weeks

24 May 2011

The Irish Government-backed Exemplar Network – a smart communications network that will serve as a magnet for foreign direct investment and help to incubate indigenous job creation – will go live for test and trial in four weeks, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, explained.

Rabbitte was speaking at the TM Forum Management World conference, an influential global telecoms industry conference that is being held in Dublin this week.

“The Exemplar Network will give Ireland a true competitive advantage in the key area of information and communications technology. It will raise the reputation of Ireland as a leader in technological innovation, act as a magnet for foreign direct investment and serve as an incubator for indigenous job creation.

“We will now bring together ICT companies who wish to be involved in and are willing to invest in the development of a Test and Trial Network.”

The minister has asked the ESB, through its telecoms subsidiary, to assist in the establishment of the forum and to support the implementation of the Trial Network.

The purpose of the Test and Trial Network

The purpose of the Test and Trial Network will be to install the Exemplar technology on fibre in a live environment, so companies can test new products and services with real customers and users.

The Exemplar Network, in which the State invested €10m with Intune Networks, has already created 140 jobs and by the third phase thousands of jobs, from digital media to high-end computing, green tech and life sciences, could be created as organisations will be attracted by the speed and capability of the network.

The Test and Trial Network is phase II of the Government’s Exemplar project. It follows the establishment of a test-bed site, in phase I of this project, where companies could test products in a laboratory type environment.

The first phase of the Exemplar programme, the Exemplar Test-bed, which is 100pc owned by the State, was opened in July 2010 and provides a laboratory environment, open to companies and researchers, to develop, test and demonstrate products and services of the future. Current industry partners using the Exemplar Test-bed include BT, Ericsson, Openet, Amartus, HEAnet, Cybercom, Imagine, ESB Telecom, Sensecom and Digiweb.

The Exemplar Smart Communications programme is based on an advanced optical communications technology. It exploits the innovative and disruptive optical packet switching and transport (OPST) technology developed by Irish company Intune Networks. This technology has the capacity to revolutionise the transmission of data across fibre networks by allowing data to be transferred more efficiently across these networks. The technology, if successful, will put Ireland firmly on the technology map worldwide, in terms of next-generation communications networks.

The ESB is a commercial semi-state energy company which operates under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Through its subsidiary company, ESB Telecoms Ltd, ESB has optimised the use of electricity assets to establish itself as a vital participant in the wholesale telecoms market in Ireland.

Companies interested in investing in the Exemplar Test and Trial Network should contact the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources at Exemplarnetwork@dcenr.ie.

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