Co Laois village to get fastest broadband in the country

Siro has selected the village to pilot its fibre-optic broadband network

European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said the digital gap between urban and rural areas must be closed. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said the digital gap between urban and rural areas must be closed. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

The remote village of Ratheniska in Co Laois - home to the National Ploughing Championships - is about to get the fastest broadband in the State.

Siro, the new joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, selected the village to pilot its new fibre-optic broadband network.

The company wants to evaluate if a similar programme of high-speed connectivity could be rolled out in other rural areas.

In all, 17 Ratheniska premises have been connected to the Siro network, including 14 homes, Ratheniska National School, the community hall and Park Ratheniska GAA club.

Siro is investing €450 million in its fibre-to-the-building network, which offers customers superfast connectivity speeds.

It plans to bring the service to around 500,000 homes and premises in 50 regional towns. The scheme is already being rolled out in Sligo city and Dundalk town.

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. ”