New initiative aims to supercharge job creation in towns across Ireland.
Vodafone and Siro are embarking on a new national Gigabit Hub initiative to digitally transform business prospects in 15 Irish towns.
Modelled on the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, the programme will provide 1Gbps connection to qualifying business, tech and start-up hubs for free for up to two years.
‘We wanted to establish a blueprint for other towns across the country to replicate Skibbereen’s success, which, if mirrored, has the potential to create and secure thousands of jobs in rural Ireland’
– ANNE O’LEARY
The initiative is now open to hubs based in 15 towns: Dundalk, Cavan, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Wexford, Drogheda, Portlaoise, Castlebar, Mullingar, Newbridge, Ennis, Ratheniska, Tralee and Carlow.
“Community enterprise centres like Ludgate will help regional towns compete on a global stage, whilst also revitalising rural areas by encouraging more people to return to where they grew up,” said Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD.
Hubs interested in applying for the 1Gbps broadband connection can find out more about the initiative and register their interest by 21 April here.
A blueprint for regional job creation
The Ludgate Hub is planning to create 500 jobs in the west Cork region over the next five years.
“When we helped to launch the Ludgate Hub last year, we wanted to establish a blueprint for other towns across the country to replicate Skibbereen’s success, which, if mirrored, has the potential to create and secure thousands of jobs in rural Ireland,” said Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O’Leary.
“Today, we have realised that vision with the launch of our Gigabit Hub initiative, helping 15 towns to become part of the Gigabit Society and becoming a beacon of innovation for the rest of the country. We now want to encourage communities in these other towns to follow Ludgate’s lead and leverage gigabit connectivity to boost the local economy.”
The idea is to grow thousands of jobs across the 15 towns and surrounding regions by placing local businesses on a level playing field with national and international organisations.
Siro is using existing ESB infrastructure to bring 1Gbps services to 50 towns around Ireland and some 500,000 premises in 2018. The company is a €450m joint venture between ESB and Vodafone.
Siro recently claimed to have passed 64,000 premises with fibre.
“The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen illustrates the digital transformation that our 100pc fibre-optic broadband network can spark, and our Gigabit Hubs initiative will open up a new world of possibilities for the 15 towns involved,” said Sean Atkinson, CEO of Siro.
“Strong, consistent connectivity will not only help attract new businesses to regional Ireland, it will also help Ireland’s young people create a future in the towns they call home, instead of being forced to move abroad.”