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SIRO’s rural broadband pilot location revealed

Ratheniska in Laois will receive 100% fibre optic 1Gb broadband from SIRO

Ratheniska, Laois has been revealed as the location for a rural broadband pilot programme conducted by SIRO.

The announcement was made today by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

SIRO has chosen Ratheniska, home of the National Ploughing Championships, as a pilot village to evaluate the potential for rolling out the SIRO network to rural areas in a future phase.

17 premises have been connected to the SIRO network, including 14 homes, Ratheniska National School, the Community Hall and Park Ratheniska GAA club.

SIRO is a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone which is delivering Ireland’s first 100% fibre optic broadband network to 50 regional towns nationwide.

Announcing the pilot programme in Ratheniska at the National Ploughing Championships, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said: “The prioritisation of high speed broadband for rural areas is a key objective for my mandate as European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is vital that the digital gap between urban and rural areas is closed as high speed broadband connectivity is a major factor for the long term sustainability of rural communities.

“A future proofed fibre optic broadband network like SIRO’s will enable remote working for people living in rural areas, empower the farming community to take advantage of the latest technological trends and encourage more people to establish online businesses in every corner of Ireland.”

Also read: What SIRO can do for you

Sean Atkinson, CEO of SIRO, added: “Our 100% fibre optic broadband network will revolutionise Ratheniska’s broadband experience and put the village on a par with cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo in terms of connectivity.

“Access to our one gigabit network means that Ratheniska’s broadband infrastructure will be four times more powerful than Dublin. This investment by SIRO is an important complement to the Government’s National Broadband Plan, by a commercial operator, and will further increase the quality of Ireland’s broadband services.”

Ratheniska was selected due to its proximity to both the national telecommunications hub and the ESB training centre in Portlaoise, its accessibility and its diverse demographic and occupational profile.

Commenting on the announcement, Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie said: “We welcome this announcement as a hugely significant and positive development for businesses and consumers in Ratheniska. Access to SIRO’s one gigabit network means that Ratheniska’s broadband infrastructure will be four times faster than Dublin and that will be transformative for the Ratheniska community. 

“It is however, important to remember that this is one pilot, in one rural community. It’s vital that investment in broadband infrastructure is targeted at bringing isolated rural areas up to speed as fast as possible and tackling broadband black spots. Those who are isolated geographically are often the ones who would benefit most from Internet access. In order to effectively bridge the digital divide that exists in Ireland access needs to be universal, fast and keenly priced. High speed broadband roll out is not happening fast enough and we would hope this development will trigger other network operators to respond.”

SIRO’s 100% fibre broadband network will be deployed on ESB’s existing overhead and underground infrastructure, ensuring a fast and cost efficient roll-out to every county in Ireland and reversing the digital divide between the capital and regional towns.

SIRO is investing €450 million in building Ireland’s first 100% fibre-to-the-building broadband network, offering 1Gb connectivity to 500,000 premises in 50 regional towns, revolutionising the broadband infrastructure in Ireland. The service will be made available on a wholesale basis to all telecoms retailers.

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