Thursday 20 July 2017

Innovation hub HQTralee first to receive free gigabit fibre broadband under new initiative

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

An innovation and business hub located in the heart of Co Kerry is the first of its kind to receive free gigabit fibre broadband.

HQTralee - currently home to 18 local businesses - has been offered two years free service from Vodafone and SIRO as part of the companies’ national Gigabit Hub Initiative.

The new initiative is open to similar hubs in 15 towns across the country which meet the same qualifying standards of excellence, creativity and ambition.

It was created in order to empower local businesses and rural communities to grow by providing the connectivity into enterprise and community centres.

“It’s great to see the tangible effect that high speed broadband access can have on hubs such as HQTralee, where businesses can gain access to 1 Gigabit per second broadband and spur the dynamic and exciting entrepreneurship we see here today," Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor said.

The results of a survey by Vodafone and SIRO amongst the businesses based at HQTralee found that all surveyed said that super-fast internet connectivity would substantially increase their productivity.

The firms were confident that the provision of reliable broadband in regional hubs would encourage more companies to establish or relocate to smaller towns - and make towns with access more attractive to Foreign Direct Investment by multinationals.

“We feel that there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to enjoy the lifestyle of living in a town like Tralee, but being able to take advantage of the same level of broadband connectivity as Hong Kong or Tokyo," co-founder of HQTralee, Ken Tobin said.

Currently supporting 50 jobs, HQTralee intends to see this number double to 100 by July 2017.

Tralee, Drogheda, Dundalk, Letterkenny, Cavan and Carlow have been announced at the six towns to be awarded free connectivity as part of the first phase of the initiative.

The successful centres from each of these town will be announced in the coming weeks.

"If this success is replicated across all six hubs, it has the potential to create up to 600 jobs across Ireland in 2017," Anne O'Leary, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ireland said.

"The economic and social benefits that 1 Gigabit broadband connectivity can bring to companies in regional Ireland are almost incalculable."

The announcement marks another success story for Co Kerry in terms of connectivity and business innovation.

A new state-of-the-art innovative hub for start-up firms The Dingle Hub - powered by eir - also opened on Friday morning.

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