Enterprise House in Carlow has been announced as the latest participant of Vodafone and SIRO’s national Gigabit Hub Initiative, which offers a 1 Gigabit broadband connection to qualifying business hubs free of charge for two years. Vodafone and SIRO designed the initiative to spark a digital transformation in towns across Ireland and encourage job and economic growth in regional towns.
One year on from its launch, the initiative has supported business and enterprise hubs to attract new companies and encourage people to relocate to communities and towns around the country. The five hubs that have received gigabit connectivity to date have expanded with 29 new companies moving to their premises, with an additional 80 people on site. The six hubs, including Carlow, are now planning further expansion, with an extra 200 jobs targeted over the next three years.
As the sixth hub to receive the award, Enterprise House joins the Ludgate Hub (Skibbereen), Tralee HQ (Tralee), Dundalk RDC (Dundalk IT) and The Mill (Drogheda) and Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre (Cavan), which have all been connected to the SIRO 100% fibre-optic network.
Currently supporting 20 businesses and 93 people on site, Enterprise House targets start-ups and growing enterprises in Carlow with the aim of fostering entrepreneurship and developing economic activity in the Carlow area. The new 1 Gigabit broadband connection, provided as part of this initiative, will help broaden Enterprise House’s appeal to entrepreneurs and companies looking to locate their company outside of the major cities, and for professionals to work remotely or commute from the town. In addition, average residential rents in Carlow are €713 per month, 31% cheaper than the national average and average house prices stand approximately €66,000 cheaper than national rates. This highlights the significant benefits to workers choosing Carlow as a place to work. SIRO has already passed 6,000 homes and businesses in Carlow to date, with construction continuing in the town.
Speaking at the launch of the Gigabit Hub in Enterprise House, Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive of Carlow County Council, said: “County Carlow as the gateway County to the South East with its proximity to Dublin provides an ideal base for companies to start, locate, innovate and grow. We understand that connectivity both from a physical viewpoint in terms of a supportive enterprise community and from a digital viewpoint is of paramount importance to supporting business growth.”
“Carlow County Council is committed to providing a one stop shop for entrepreneurs working with Enterprise Ireland, IDA, County Carlow Chamber and our two third level institutions and incubation and development centres like Enterprise House. We welcome the Vodafone & SIRO 1 Gigabit broadband connection in Enterprise House which will further enable the centre to drive innovation and assist companies to reach their business goals.”
Anne O’Leary, Vodafone Ireland CEO, added: “As the sixth hub to be unveiled as part of this initiative, I’m delighted to witness the tangible, long-term benefits that businesses, irrespective of size or location, can achieve through 1 Gigabit connectivity. Job creation, economic growth and the ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with international organisations are only some of the many benefits that can be achieved through equal access to gigabit speed broadband. Vodafone is fully committed to championing the digital potential of businesses and communities all over Ireland and the Gigabit Hub Initiative is the spark to that transformation.”
Sean Atkinson, SIRO CEO, also said: “One year on since the launch of the Gigabit Hub initiative with Vodafone, we are already seeing real results, with participating hubs expanding due to demand for Ireland’s most powerful broadband. We are sparking a digital transformation across Ireland,with the local economy in each town boosted as a result, with companies relocating to the area and entrepreneurs establishing their businesses in the community. Carlow and the other locations now have the same level of connectivity as cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo, so there is nothing to hold any of these businesses back in terms of competing with any other firm in the world.”
Using the existing ESB network, SIRO is delivered through fibre optic cables which run alongside existing electricity connections, all the way to the building. This technology, known as fibre to the home (FTTH), has no copper connections at any point to slow down the network and delivers 1 Gigabit download and upload speeds. For context, when downloading a high definition film (4 Gigabytes) with a 10 Mbps connection, the download time is an hour – with SIRO it takes approximately 30 seconds. Services powered by SIRO are already live or under construction in 35 towns across the country, with eight retailers offering connections to over 150,000 homes and businesses.