Údarás na Gaeltachta, the regional authority responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht regions, is actively engaged in enterprise development and job creation initiatives. One of its key strategic projects over the next couple of years is the development of ‘gteic Gréasán Digiteach na Gaeltachta’ (Gaeltacht Digital Network) which will see the development of 30 innovation & digital hubs throughout Ireland’s Gaeltachta Areas.
gteic is aimed at facilitating concept development, assisting start-ups to scale and grow, providing opportunities for the growing trend of remote and e-working all in rural Gaeltacht areas without having to move to urban areas. Helping Údarás na Gaeltachta to provide high-speed broadband in some of the rural areas in which these hubs are proposed is AirSpeed Telecom.
Over the coming months a further two digital hubs will be launched by Údarás na Gaeltachta in An Cheathrú Rua and Carna in County Galway. These two spaces are modern office premises with all the facilities expected in today's workplace. They will be made available to a wide range of applicants, from people working remotely who need a hot desk to small businesses who require dedicated office space. The key component of these digital hubs is reliable, high-speed broadband.
Due to their rural locations, getting high-speed connectivity to the hubs was a challenge, according to Conall MacGearailt, Property and Engineering Projects Manager at Údarás na Gaeltachta, but with its diverse range of access technologies, AirSpeed Telecom was able to create a solution that worked. "We had previously worked with AirSpeed Telecom and had been impressed by their ability to provide a reliable connection."
AirSpeed provides a 100Mb fibre connection to An Cheathrú Rua, the larger of the two hubs, and an 80Mb point-to-point licensed microwave connection into Carna. When fully occupied, An Cheathrú Rua will have the capacity to host up to 30 people, while Carna will provide space for up to 10 people. "Importantly for us, the 100Mb fibre connection into An Cheathrú Rua is scalable to 1GB any time we need to make that change. This is ideal as it allows us to have almost immediate access to that increased bandwidth should we need it," explains Conall.
Also critical to the success of the projects, AirSpeed Telecom is backing up its high-speed connectivity with a competitive Service Level Agreement (SLA) that ensures a swift resolution to any downtime on the network. This was important to Údarás na Gaeltachta, which is committed to offering businesses at the digital hubs a truly reliable service.
In opening these digital hubs, Údarás na Gaeltachta wants to break down the barriers to people staying or returning to their local areas to live and work and hence to support their communities. Being able to offer dependable, super-fast connectivity is a key factor in the organisation's innovation and digital hub strategy. With high-speed broadband, the hubs can become a base for high-tech start-ups, as well as facilitating the growing trend for employees at multinationals based in rural areas to work remotely, either from a hot desk or a dedicated office space.
The digital hubs at An Cheathrú Rua and Carna are scheduled to open in the coming weeks, with a number of other digital hubs to be launched later in the year in other Gaeltacht areas.