Nestled against the backdrop of Dingle Harbour, the Dingle Hub was officially opened for business on Friday 28th April. The importance of the hub for the town was evident by the large and enthusiastic crowd who came to hear from Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, as well as representatives from Kerry County Council, Udaras na Gaeltachta and eir, speak at the launch.
From the outset, it was clear that the Dingle Hub was much more than the 1GB dedicated fibre connection, hosted voice services and WiFi hotspots provided by eir; the hub brings the promise of a connected future. This was one of the key themes that ran through all of the speeches on the day of the launch, which was kicked off by Philip King, broadcaster and creator of the acclaimed Other Voices. Philip, a former musician, lyrically described the Dingle Hub as a “portrait of a possibility of where we can go and what we can be.”
As we heard, for too long, Dingle has been sending its students to Ireland’s cities, and beyond, to continue their studies and pursue their futures. With the Dingle Hub and high-speed fibre connectivity, “we can now offer our students the prospect of coming home,” said Jim Garvey, spokesman for the Dingle Hub. “Now that Dingle is connected, it’s open for business 24/7/365.”
Minister for Jobs, Mary Mitchell O’Connor re-emphasised how important high-speed connectivity is to the revitalisation of rural Ireland. “There is no disputing the significant economic and social benefits that facilities [like the Dingle Hub] bring to rural communities across Ireland.”
For us at eir, this message is at the heart of what we’re supporting across the country: the regeneration of rural Ireland. The Dingle Hub is just the beginning; the revitalisation of rural Ireland is a key commitment for us, now and in the future.
At eir, we’re proud that our network is one of the largest in Ireland, reaching into every corner of the country and providing reliable, high-speed connectivity. But what was clear at the launch of the Dingle Hub is all of the possibilities that come with that connectivity: it creates sustainable employment (in Dingle alone there is the potential for 100 new jobs), and opens doors for entrepreneurs and start-ups who can now see their future professional and personal lives as being based in their local area. Residents of local communities who have access to high-speed connectivity no longer need to be excluded from full engagement in the digital world, and aren’t forced to choose between living where they want and achieving their professional ambitions.
As Philip King said, “we have created something here that is an exemplar and can be replicated throughout Ireland’s rural communities.”
Together with 1GB connectivity, eir is also providing technology components to let the Hub build its own test-bed networks in Dingle, and making these available to local businesses who want to test and scale ideas for Internet of Things (IOT) or Wi-Fi based applications.
We’re expecting great things from the Dingle Hub, and if the buzz and excitement at the launch are anything to go by, we’re certain we will be hearing about development at the Dingle Hub in the very near future.