Call for digital town hubs in County Wicklow
The Irish Government should focus on creating 'digital town' hubs in towns like Wicklow in a new National Broadband Plan, according to IE Domain Registry, the company that manages and maintains Ireland's country domain name, .ie.
Some 8,037 IE domains were registered in Wicklow in the first half of 2018.
As the National Broadband Plan has been put on hold due to controversy which led to the resignation of Communications Minister Denis Naughten, IE Domain Registry says that the Government should reassess and reset the plan, prioritising the connection of regional towns with potential for local e-commerce growth and entrepreneurship, rather than 100 per cent fibre-optic coverage for the entirety of Ireland.
David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry, made the comments at Internet Day 2018 in Gorey, Co Wexford. Internet Day is a celebration of the internet and its contribution to society and the economy, hosted annually by IE Domain Registry.
'While the long-term goal of linking up every townland and village in Ireland to a fibre-optic broadband network is an admirable goal, and one we should strive to achieve at some point in the future, we must be realistic,' said Mr Curtin.
'At present, the Government is trying to be everything to everyone all at once, and that approach simply isn't feasible. The delays that have resulted from this approach come at the expense of many regional urban centres that would otherwise have immediately reaped the rewards of a modern digital infrastructure. By channelling investment into towns with high-growth potential (particularly in terms of revenue generated from e-commerce) citizens, business owners and local government will benefit,' he said.
Mr Curtin said that digital hubs act like magnets for investment and Gorey, IE Domain Registry's first recognised 'Digital Town', is an example of this.
Recent IE Domain Registry research, shows that 68 per cent of people in Ireland believe that their local high street is not equipped for the 'digital age'.