Updated: 27/03/17 : 05:49:45
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Sligo businesses to benefit from 'digital transformation'

Fifteen towns across Ireland will offer local businesses access to a one gigabit broadband connection free for two years.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor will launch what is being billed as Ireland’s first national “gigabit hub” on Monday.

The joint initiative by Vodafone and Siro, its joint venture with the ESB, aims to spark a digital transformation in the 15 towns. It will supply a one gigabit broadband connection – widely viewed as the industry gold standard – to qualifying business, technology and start-up hubs.

The initiative is open to hubs based in Sligo, Carlow, Carrigaline, Castlebar, Cavan, Drogheda, Dundalk, Ennis, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Ratheniska, Tralee and Wexford.

In 2015 SIRO presented its plans to Sligo County Council, Sligo Chamber of Commerce and the Sligo Local Enterprise Office. pictured above

At that time Sean Atkinson, CEO of SIRO said,  “We’re delighted that Sligo will be the next location as part of our rollout. We will revolutionise people’s experience of broadband with a 100% fibre optic network, which delivers fibre broadband directly to the home, without the need for copper, delivering speeds of one Gigabit.”

The two companies said having access to high-speed connectivity would mean that businesses could be based in any location, retain local skills, knowledge and talent, and compete on a level playing field with national and international organisations.

Application process

The application process is now open, and will run until Friday, April 21st. Hubs interested in applying can find out more about the initiative and register their interest at www.vodafone.ie/connected-futures

The initiative has been designed to replicate the success of the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, Co Cork, which is powered by a one gigabit internet connection thanks to Siro, the joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone.

Commenting ahead of the launch, Ms Mitchell O’Connor said: “High-speed broadband is vital for regional development, and the Government is delivering on its promise to address Ireland’s connectivity challenges.

“Having opened the Ludgate Hub last year, I have seen the economic and social benefits that gigabit connectivity has delivered to Skibbereen. Vodafone and Siro’s gigabit hub initiative will replicate this success in 15 locations across Ireland, helping to attract jobs, investment and start-ups to each town.”