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Portershed A Dó Joins SIRO GigaBitHub Initiative

[caption id="attachment_8159" align="aligncenter" width="1024"](L-R, Aoife Cheung, Office Manager, Portershed, Amanda Nelson, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, Mary Rogers, CEO of PorterShed, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, Amanda Glancy, Director of Corporate Affairs, SIRO, Sheila Kavanagh, Network Director, Vodafone Ireland, Anthony Shaughnessy,Community and Production, PorterShed) (L-R, Aoife Cheung, Office Manager, Portershed, Amanda Nelson, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, Mary Rogers, CEO of PorterShed, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, Amanda Glancy, Director of Corporate Affairs, SIRO, Sheila Kavanagh, Network Director, Vodafone Ireland, Anthony Shaughnessy,Community and Production, PorterShed)[/caption] The official opening coincides with the organisation's 7th birthday. Founded in 2016 the PorterShed has to date supported the creation of more than 835 high value jobs in the region. The new building, funded by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment through Enterprise Ireland's Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) initiative, will become home to an additional 200 indigenous tech startup members, offering a collaborative innovation space, access to SIRO and Vodafone’s full fibre broadband, production studio, boardroom podcast studio, rooftop garden, and conference rooms. PorterShed has already established itself as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship under the banner of Galway City Innovation District, creating a down-town innovation community in the heart of Galway City. [caption id="attachment_8156" align="aligncenter" width="1024"](L-R, Sheila Kavanagh, Network Director, Vodafone Ireland, Robert Marshall, Senior Public Affairs, Vodafone Ireland, Amanda Nelson, CEO Vodafone Ireland, Amanda Glancy, Corporate Affairs Director, SIRO.) (L-R, Sheila Kavanagh, Network Director, Vodafone Ireland, Robert Marshall, Senior Public Affairs, Vodafone Ireland, Amanda Nelson, CEO Vodafone Ireland, Amanda Glancy, Corporate Affairs Director, SIRO.)[/caption] Speaking at the official opening, Minister Coveney said he continues to be impressed by the growth of the tech sector in Galway and acknowledged the impact of the PorterShed in the region since it first opened in 2016.
“I am delighted to be here today to officially open PorterShed a Dó in the heart of Galway city. This remarkable state-of-the art facility in the former iconic Connaught Tribune Building will play a central role in enabling the growth of scaling enterprises in the West and further afield. The opening of Portershed a Dó, supported by over €2.9m in funding from my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, will further cement Galway’s reputation as hub for innovation and provide high potential businesses with the space and support they need to flourish and prosper. It is an example of one of the many enterprise initiatives the Government has supported throughout the country. The West Regional Enterprise Plan is responsive to the opportunities and needs of the region and focuses on regional collaboration. PorterShed is an example of the power of that collaboration, and I hope and expect that it will inspire similar initiatives in the region. I wish the centre and all the companies and entrepreneurs that avail of the facilities on offer every success for the future.”
[caption id="attachment_8157" align="aligncenter" width="1024"](L-R, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, speaking with Siren, member of PorterShed present with Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, Sheila Kavanagh, Network Director, Vodafone Ireland, Senator Sean Kyne, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Hildegard Naughton, Mary Rogers, CEO PorterShed, Robert Marshall, Senior Public Affairs, Vodafone Ireland, and Amanda Nelson, CEO, Vodafone Ireland.) (L-R, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, speaking with Siren, member of PorterShed present with Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, Sheila Kavanagh, Network Director, Vodafone Ireland, Senator Sean Kyne, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Hildegard Naughton, Mary Rogers, CEO PorterShed, Robert Marshall, Senior Public Affairs, Vodafone Ireland, and Amanda Nelson, CEO, Vodafone Ireland.)[/caption] Maurice O'Gorman, Chairperson of PorterShed, said:
"We are thrilled to be celebrating our 7th birthday by opening this new building, which will provide even more opportunities for tech startups to innovate and grow. We are grateful for the ongoing support of Enterprise Ireland who have been pivotal partners and funders for the PorterShed since 2016.”
John Keaney, CEO of SIRO, said:
 "We are pleased to be a part of the PorterShed story. Launched in 2017, the GigaBitHub Initiative has enabled digital hubs across Ireland to thrive by providing enterprise-grade symmetric, full fibre broadband. In 2022, the Portershed became the 17th hub to join the initiative, and we are proud to have played a role in supporting the growth and development of startups and innovative businesses in the Galway region. We look forward to continuing our partnership with PorterShed and supporting their mission to foster a culture of innovation in the community.”
[caption id="attachment_8158" align="aligncenter" width="1024"](L-R, Amanda Glancy, Corporate Affairs Director, SIRO, Amanda Nelson, CEO, Vodafone Ireland) (L-R, Amanda Glancy, Corporate Affairs Director, SIRO, Amanda Nelson, CEO, Vodafone Ireland)[/caption] Amanda Nelson, CEO at Vodafone Ireland said:
‘It is fantastic to see hubs just like the PorterShed continue to go from strength to strength. Today’s opening of PorterShed a Dó, demonstrates the continued value, demand and need for smart working hubs throughout the country. Through our Gigabit hub initiative our goal has always been to empower local businesses and communities through connectivity. The PorterShed is a shining example of what’s possible when we look at how connectivity can enable and enhance the work life balance of the people it serves, ultimately allowing them to pursue their careers within the area they are from, without sacrificing their quality of life or being forced to move to larger cities or abroad’’
The PorterShed is also supported by AIB, KPMG, Enterprise Ireland and The Western Development Commission. SIRO and Vodafone are currently seeking applications for the GigaBitHub initiative. For more information, please visit For more information about PorterShed and its new building, please visit
[caption id="attachment_7972" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Director of The Cube, Caroline Hofman Director of The Cube, Caroline Hofman[/caption]   Thursday, 30th March 2023 saw the official opening of the GigaBitHub, The CUBE, by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney. The 10,000 square foot Low Carbon Centre of Excellence is a dedicated centre for the development of new business and economic activity. It’s goal is to support and assist a transition to a low carbon economy for County Laois.   Portlaoise Town has been designated as Ireland’s first ‘Low Carbon Town’ which will serve as a roadmap for the development and rollout of similar low carbon initiatives in other towns around the Country.   This low carbon facility is the first of its kind in the region and is located in the heart of Portlaoise’s Cultural Quarter. It will support and stimulate the development of enterprise and jobs in Laois and the Midlands region.   The CUBE is funded by Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. The project pivots around Government plans and strategic directions, including Project Ireland 2040, the Climate Action Plan to tackle Climate breakdown, and the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024.  The Cube is the 18th GigaBitHub to be announced under SIRO and Vodafone’s GigaBitHub initiative and is the first to open under its second phase.   [caption id="attachment_7971" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] L-R, SIRO Corporate Affairs Director, Amanda Glancy, Charlie Collins, Senior Strategic Partner, VF Business, John Keaney, SIRO CEO, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, Public Sector Account Executive, Ryan Brophy  Lisa Corcoran, Head of SME Business, Vodafone Business Ireland[/caption] Present at the launch included: Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Conveney, Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Thomasina Connell, SIRO CEO, John Keaney, Cube Tenants, including FRS Recruitment, WrkWrk, and, Laois County Council CEO, John Mullholland, Enterprise Ireland Divisional Manager, Carol Gibbins, and Head of SME Business at Vodafone Business Ireland, Lisa Corcoran.   [caption id="attachment_7970" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] L-R, Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett and Corporate Affairs Director at SIRO, Amanda Glancy[/caption] Speaking on the announcement, the following comments were made:  Speaking at the opening Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD said:  
“I am delighted be here today to officially open the CUBE in Portlaoise, Ireland’s first ‘low-carbon’ town. This remarkable state-of-the art facility, will play a central role in enabling the growth of scaling enterprises across the Midlands and further afield, supporting this critical agenda to reduce energy consumption.   The opening of the CUBE, supported by over €2m in funding from my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, will see the positive contribution by low carbon businesses to economic prosperity in the long-term and I believe will serve as a roadmap for the development and rollout of similar low carbon initiatives in other towns around the country.” 
[caption id="attachment_7969" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] L-R SIRO CEO John Keaney, Head of SME Business, Lisa Corcoran, Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Thomasina Connell, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, Divisional Manager & Head of Regions and Local Enterprise, Enterprise Ireland, Carol Gibbins, and Director of The Cube, Caroline Hofman[/caption] Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Thomasina Connell added: 
"Not only will the centre provide support and assist businesses in the transition to a low carbon economy, but it will greatly assist the local community in their efforts to address energy consumption and retrofitting.” 
Commenting on the announcement, SIRO CEO, John Keaney, said: 
“The SIRO-Vodafone GigaBitHub Initiative has connected 18 hubs to date.  “The Cube” is the first GigaBitHub of its kind with a commitment to driving sustainability within its local and regional communities. We’re excited to support “The Cube” in its goal to help Ireland’s journey to carbon neutrality.   It resonates with SIRO’s mission to be Ireland’s greenest broadband network, as SIRO’s full fibre network is inherently more sustainable, requiring less energy and maintenance when compared to copper or cable networks. We’re delighted to support The Cube in its mission in making Portlaoise a low-carbon town."
Sinéad Bryan, Managing Director of Vodafone Business Ireland, added: 
"The Gigabit Hub Initiative was created in order to empower local businesses and communities through connectivity. This connectivity means the people of Laois can benefit from a better work life balance and allow them to pursue their careers within the area they are from, without sacrificing their quality of life or being forced to move to cities or abroad.” 
SIRO is now accepting applications for GigaBitHub applications within our network footprint. For more information, please visit 
SIRO Ireland · Shannonside FM Roscommon Announcement
SIRO, the fibre broadband network operator, has today announced the roll out of its broadband network in Roscommon town. The build works commenced in autumn last year. The company has confirmed that significant progress has already made in its delivery of the new network, with almost 70% of the project now complete. The company is investing €3 million in bringing Ireland’s most advanced broadband network to the town.  

When is SIRO coming to Roscommon?

SIRO is rolling out its high speed, reliable fibre broadband network to 2,350 homes and businesses in the town overall.  Build works for a majority of the premises targeted, (1,600 premises), are already completed and the new broadband service is now available to order. The remaining 750 premises in the town are expected to be completed during Spring 2023. 

Where is SIRO rolling out to in Roscommon Town?

Areas within Roscommon set to benefit from the roll out include Main Street, Riverdale, Lanesborough Street, Saint Ciaran’s Park, Pine View, Castle Street, Sunny Side House, Cherry Drive, Castle Apartments, Knights Court, Celtic Avenue, Cloonbrackna, Brookvale Avenue, and Lús Leana.  Homes and businesses can now order SIRO’s fibre broadband from its network of retailers, including Vodafone, Sky, Airwire, Pure Telecom, Digiweb, Fastcom and Viatel.  SIRO’s full fibre network is available to both homes and businesses within Roscommon town, with speeds of up to 2 gigabit per second available for homes, and up to 10 gigabits for enterprise connections.  SIRO birds eye view of Roscommon Town on a sunny day, with Roscommon Castle in the foreground and town in the background.

What is SIRO broadband? 

SIRO is a joint venture company between ESB and Vodafone, founded in 2015, focused on delivering full fibre broadband to Ireland’s towns and cities. SIRO’s fibre broadband network is built on the ESB electricity infrastructure, trusted for its reliability and resilience. Overall, the company is investing more than €1 billion in delivering high speed, future proofed broadband across Ireland. 

How Broadband Supports A Community

Commenting on the announcement, SIRO Chief Executive Officer, John Keaney, said:  
“SIRO has one of the most advanced fibre broadband networks in Europe, so we are really pleased to be bringing this network to Roscommon town.  “Individuals and businesses are all too aware of the value of a reliable and resilient broadband connection. It allows them to stay connected at home or when running their businesses, removing what can be a major pain point in daily life if their existing broadband is poor.  “Fibre broadband can have a transformative effect on regional towns. By providing a scalable, future-proofed and sustainable fibre network, it re-enforces Roscommon town’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and do business,” added Mr. Keaney.    
Shane Tiernan Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council stated:  
 “This multi-million-euro investment and delivery of full fibre broadband by SIRO in Roscommon town is to be congratulated and welcomed. High speed reliable digital connectivity is an essential requirement to allow Roscommon town to flourish commercially, economically and socially.    The availability of SIRO’s full fibre broadband infrastructure greatly supports Roscommon County Council’s ambition for the development of an innovative collaborative digital society and economy in Roscommon over the coming years. This advancement by SIRO will undoubtedly have a very positive impact in supporting our constant drive for Roscommon to be a great place to live, work, invest in and visit”, added Mr. Tiernan.  
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JOHN KEANEY SIRO On 1 June last, SIRO launched its’ 10 Gigabit (10G) enabled broadband network in Galway city. The first city in Ireland to have this high speed, large bandwidth network at its disposal. At the end August, SIRO’s entire fibre broadband network was upgraded to 10 Gigabits. This €10 million, 15-month upgrade project includes our full existing SIRO network, i.e., 450,000+ premises we have already passed and the further 320,000 we are in the process of passing right now.

10G: what is it?

From the middle of last year, SIRO began the process of upgrading its’ existing network to a 10 Gigabit network using XGS-PON technology. G-PON stands for Gigabit PON or 1 Gigabit PON. The “X” in XGS represents the number 10, and the letter “S” stands for symmetrical, XGS-PON = 10 Gigabit Symmetrical PON. The upgrade allows SIRO to turbo-charge our existing network from a one Gigabit network to a network providing up to 10G connections which are symmetrical (same upload and download speeds), much more reliable, with lower latencies and better security.

The point of a 10G network is the flexibility to scale up seamlessly as your data demands grow. One Gigabit to two, four, six Gigabits and so on

What can it do?

One of the most prominent and headline grabbing aspects of 10 G is speed, specifically speed of data transfer. 10 Gbps lets you transfer at a rate of 1.25 GB/s when you copy a file to another computer across the SIRO network. This equates to sending a 20 GB file in under 20 seconds.   connection between two computers SIRO At SIRO we know, that at least for the short-to-medium term, end users of this much larger bandwidth will be enterprise/business users vs. residential consumers. It makes sense. It is businesses, whether small or large, who typically move large data sets. However, the number of businesses who falls into this category is not as niche as it once might have been. As ever more intensive applications run on our servers or are stored in the Cloud, the amount of data created, stored and transferred increases each day. Add in the growing automation of once manual tasks and the need for high-speed internet as the key enabler of these processes becomes clear.

10G will become the technology platform for this phase of digital adaptation across the world. It will ensure that technology in our lives becomes even more embedded and integrated

Speed and bandwidth are also important for business where large numbers of colleagues and clients need to connect at once. Both now have an expectation of being able to access services when they require them and that this access is dependable and consistent. team working on a project together SIRO Business, for reasons of productivity, reputation and of course the bottom line, cannot afford to have any bottlenecks in their connectivity which can hold their business back. Businesses with many employees and multiple clients all logging on at the same time are obvious candidates for much higher speeds. Yet over recent years as our use of digital technologies has grown, it has spawned new types of business which are equally heavy data users. Businesses in the creative sector is one example. While they may not be big in terms of employee head count, they are big users of data. Think content creators in advertising, digital or marketing agencies, animators, film or videographers, game design – all transferring large files each day. Though smaller companies, the creative sector in its’ totality is a significant sector, employing up to 5% of the Irish workforce or about 100,000.

Do I need 10G?

In truth, it depends. If you are an individual, doing video editing, streaming, audio production, activities which involve a large amount of data and if your workflow currently lags due to slow speeds, then likely you do need to move up the Gigabit ranks from the standard one Gigabit to higher speeds. The point of a 10G network is the flexibility to scale up seamlessly as your data demands grow. One Gigabit to two, four, six Gigabits and so on. The use case is much clearer if you are a business or enterprise. If your business has large file sizes to deal; you use HD streaming or your company is growing in terms of capability or headcount, then there is a real risk of congestion on your network necessitating larger bandwidth.

10G will become the technology platform for this phase of digital adaptation across the world.

An important additional benefit of SIRO’s 10G network is affordability. Previously access to high-speed point-to-point (P2P) services was largely just available to very big organisations with substantial IT budgets. With this upgrade SIRO have changed that market limiting dynamic.

A 10 Gigabit Future?

Just as when once the need for one Gigabit broadband met with questions on the use case of that level of bandwidth; some might today ask a similar question of 10 Gigabit broadband. Those of us who have seen the relentless march of data demands, know better than to ask that question anymore. Instead, the more pertinent question for business and society to consider are what processes and technologies (many, not yet invented) can this level of bandwidth unlock for the benefit of all? 10G will become the technology platform for this phase of digital adaptation across the world. It will ensure that technology in our lives becomes even more embedded and integrated. Healthcare professionals will monitor and diagnose their patients remotely in real-time, our students will collaborate and learn not just from their classmates but with other children across the world and virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) will change many aspects of how we live from retail, to home entertainment, to the world of work. In SIRO we have always sought to drive innovation in the Irish broadband market to make the probable, possible. Today’s focus may be on 10 Gigabits, but the direction of journey to 25 Gigabits is already coming into view. To find out if your business can avail of SIRO for Business, please visit
SIRO, the broadband network operator, has today announced that its fibre broadband network is now a 10 Gigabit network. SIRO’s announcement comes following the completion of a €10 million investment upgrade programme, implemented to ensure the company’s network can deliver the fastest speeds available. SIRO’s decision to make 10 Gigabit speeds available is driven by the ever-increasing data demands of enterprise year-on-year and the necessity to have a future proofed network primed to respond to the needs of businesses. SIRO, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, is currently rolling out a 100% fibre broadband network across 154 towns and cities across Ireland, with services currently available to 450,000+ premises and reaching 770,000 premises over the next four years. In October 2021, SIRO launched 2 Gigabit speeds for the residential market. Today’s announcement of 10 Gigabits is initially focused on the enterprise market. The latter have a need to progressively scale up their bandwidth from 2 Gigabits up to 10 Gigabits in the short to medium term. The upgrade to 10 Gigabits reflects SIRO’s ambition to continuously bring innovation to the Irish broadband market. SIRO is Ireland’s sole open-access wholesale-only broadband operator and was first to introduce 1 Gigabit broadband to Irish homes. It is now stretching its offering further with speeds of 2 Gigabits for residential and up to 10 Gigabits for enterprise customers, respectively. The benefits of multi-gigabit speeds include: Ensure fastest speeds: Symmetrical speeds up to ten times faster than the best standard currently available of up to 1 Gigabit. A 10 Gigabit connection can transfer 1 Gigabit of data in 0.8 seconds or upload a file of 20 Gigabits in under 20 seconds. Provide scalable connectivity: A future-proofed connection to support the increasing number of connected devices used by businesses. Enhance cyber protection: Enhanced data and network protection by facilitating network management systems which reduce cybersecurity risks. Support new technologies: The bandwidth to integrate emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D technology or voice recognition tools. Commenting on the announcement, SIRO CEO, John Keaney, said: “For SIRO, completing our transition to a 10 Gigabit-enabled network is about ensuring we continue to lead the market in terms of delivering on Ireland’s future broadband needs for the decades ahead. “All aspects of business processes and operations are increasingly digitised. Reliable and future proofed connectivity is the foundation upon which they all rest. “This upgrade gives enterprises the opportunity to plan and scale up their bandwidth requirements as their data demands and business requirements grow. Rather than wait for the broadband infrastructure to catch up, businesses can now have the certainty that they can access higher speeds and capacity as and when they need it,” added Mr. Keaney. To find out if you can avail of 10 Gigabit today, check your Eircode today! [lookup_modal type="eircode" button-text="Search Your Eircode Today" position="mid" title="Search Your Eircode Today"]
Just over half of young adults aged between 18-24 say that the lack of affordable housing would drive them to live and work outside of Ireland’s main cities, according to a new study, carried out to mark the launch of phase two of the Vodafone SIRO GigaBitHub Initiative. The second phase will see 15 new hubs connected in towns across Ireland. The study, carried out among more than 300 people aged between 18-24 by Empathy Research, provides significant insights into how the next generation of employees wish to work and the factors influencing their decisions. Interestingly, the majority of participants (33%) favoured the option to work from home fulltime, rather than the option to work in the office or a hybrid working model, with 77% indicating this option within their top three preferences for ways of working. The Vodafone SIRO GigaBitHub Initiative, launched in 2017, currently provides free 1 Gigabit high-speed broadband to digital hubs across Ireland, enabling businesses to thrive and bringing new life, skills and people to towns across the country. The first phase of the Initiative, which completed last year, supported many of Ireland’s leading hubs and co-working facilities including Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, Galway’s PorterShed and Dundalk’s Creative Spark. The next phase of the Initiative is being launched today and hubs across Ireland are encouraged to apply to become the next hub. The results of the survey highlight a growing attraction among young adults to work from a digital hub (51%), with the majority of participants (73%) believing this to be a more cost-effective option than living and working in a city centre. The flexibility and more time to access further education due to working from a hub are also factors that appeal to young adults. According to the study, salary, work-life balance and commuting times were most important factors influencing young adults when considering a new career or role. Interestingly, males (37%) see salary as being the most important consideration, compared to females at just 21%, who would instead rank work-life balance as being the most important (25%). Opportunities to travel internationally and networking opportunities were among the lower priorities for participants in their career choices at 2% and 4%, respectively. Additionally, multinational companies were the most appealing organisations for  young people starting their career at 30%, followed by working for a small to medium businesses (24%). However, when viewed by gender, 31% of women favoured the option to work for an SME in comparison to 18% men. In terms of working with a start-up, this was favoured more by males (21%) over females (9%). Also of interest is that based on location, 18% of those in Dublin were more likely to become an entrepreneur and start their own business, than 5% of those based outside of Dublin.   Commenting on the launch, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, Anne O’Leary said;
Our study clearly shows how important flexible and hybrid working is to the next generation, which continues to prove transformative for people, businesses and local communities. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the concept, provision and demand for digital hubs is growing around the country and this will only increase as we see those finishing second and third level education adapt to the new future of work and life-long learning. The advantages are clear in terms of access to collaborative and creative spaces, not to mention allowing people work closer to their home and local communities that will boost rural communities. We are therefore delighted to support phase two of our GigaBitHub initiative and provide an additional 15 hubs across Ireland with 1 Gigabit broadband connectivity. “According to the study, there are a number of factors influencing these insights which employers and other key stakeholders need to be cognisant of as we shape future ways of working and the future of our communities. The most significant of these is the lack of affordable accommodation and the rising cost of living which is having a direct impact on the choice where to live, decisions about education, and future employment and career choices among young adults – all of which will affect the future fabric of our economy and society.”
Commenting on the next phase of the Initiative and the survey results, CEO of SIRO, John Keaney noted:
“Today’s research results are very encouraging in terms of the future of work and balanced regional development. They underpin what has been SIRO’s philosophy since we first commenced rolling out fibre broadband to 154 Irish towns. Namely, give communities access to world-class connectivity and then work from anywhere becomes possible. “The research shows many young people are open to working and living where their family and community connections are located, if this is feasible. Access to high quality fibre broadband networks, like SIRO’s, are now making this possible. This is transformative for Ireland’s economic and social development.  Hubs are playing a crucial role in bridging the gap between home and work in many towns across Ireland. SIRO is delighted, to once again, support more digital hubs around Ireland by providing them with Gigabit fibre broadband to underpin their connectivity offering.”

Apply to Become a GigaBitHub

Tarah Goldrick_Head of Enterpise at SIRO Last week SIRO and Vodafone jointly announced Galway’s PorterShed as our 17th digital hub as part of our Gigabit Hub Initiative. The initiative, first launched in 2017, offers free 1 Gigabit broadband connectivity to digital hubs and coworking facilities around the country. Its’ purpose is to support a digital enabled transformation across Irish towns, fostering new enterprises, creating jobs and delivering a social and economic dividend to local communities. In recent years technological developments have moved at pace, bolstered by the roll-out of high-speed broadband networks like SIRO’s to underpin these innovations, it has meant seamless remote working became possible. However, while putting these tools – access to high-speed broadband networks and technology such as video calling apps like Microsoft Teams or Zoom – at our fingertips should logically have meant that we all embraced the ‘work from anywhere’ way of life. In truth, work from anywhere only became a mass movement when COVID-necessitated it over the last two years. In terms of hubs, back in 2017 when the Vodafone-SIRO Gigabit Hub Initiative began, the idea of hubs was still in its infancy, those that existed were niche and geographically quiet spread out. Young woman wearing a white blouse working on a laptop in a remote working hub Fast forward to 2022, COVID and the shift to remote working has changed both appreciation and demand for co-working and remote working facilities right across Ireland. While not every town has a hub, just yet, increasing numbers do. They are also a growing feature of neighbourhoods within our city suburbs. Describing hubs as merely co-working spaces, creates the impression of facilities for hot-desking only, a disservice to their full offering. Most are set up to provide space for start-ups and small enterprises to have access to best-in-class facilities and shared services such as IT, admin support, staff canteen or break out spaces, which small businesses typically might struggle to afford. Beyond the physical facilities, hubs also offer opportunities for businesses to collaborate, share ideas and knowledge, and collectively problem solve. They are critical also for the social side of working life, providing outlets for users to meet and engage with others – something many employees working from home yearned a lot during various lockdowns.

“Community-based initiatives like The PorterShed and others are playing a vital role in shaping Ireland’s new enterprise eco-systems”

SIRO, as an Irish company, rolling out a 100% fibre broadband network to 154 towns and cities, understands and has seen first-hand the transformative impact of high speed, fibre broadband can bring to communities and towns across Ireland. We are invested in ensuring greater access for homes and businesses to reliable and future proofed broadband. Giving back something meaningful to the towns our network expands to via the Gigabit Hub Initiative is something of which we are hugely proud. The opportunity to provide connectivity, with Vodafone, to Galway’s PorterShed fully aligns with our stated objectives of supporting local business. The PorterShed is a coworking and collaborative space for technology focused innovation driven enterprises. Its’ focus is to build, grow, scale, and innovate the Galway Tech ecosystem. Since its original launch five years ago it has had a significant impact. The PorterShed has facilitated the creation of over 800 jobs in Galway and attracted an inward investment of €35 million. A namecheck of the companies who currently or have used the Hub over its’ lifetime underlines its’ success story. Companies such as Diligent Software, Rent the Runway, Frankli, Genesys, Globalisation Partners to name but a few.  

Just as SIRO has matured as a business, with over 420,000 premises, and growing, across Ireland with access to our Gigabit fibre broadband, the PorterShed has equally grown and set its’ sights on further ambitious targets for incubating Galway’s tech start up scene.

  2022 will see a significant expansion in the PorterShed footprint. It will add an additional 200 desks, bringing its total capacity to 330 desks overall. The PorterShed will also move from its existing location near Eyre Square to two new premises – at Bowling Green and the former Connacht Tribune offices on Market Street – both located in the Galway City Innovation District. The PorterShed is also targeting the creation of an additional 1,700 jobs by its member companies as part this new phase of its development. Multiple people and cars outside the new Portershed extension   PorterShed joining the SIRO-Vodafone Gigabit Hubs will see both new premises receiving a high-quality Gigabit fibre broadband, ensuring that its member companies have fast and reliable broadband. This connectivity, whilst enhancing the attractiveness of the PorterShed, also ensures it has future proofed broadband capable of accommodating speeds of up to 10 Gigabits in the years ahead. Connectivity, delivered through future proofed fibre broadband, is the great leveller for businesses and communities across Ireland. For the first time in Ireland’s history, people can now, once they can access a high-speed broadband network, live, work or run their business from where they want to vs. having to locate to city centre areas where the best services and infrastructure have traditionally been concentrated. Community-based initiatives like The PorterShed and others are playing a vital role in shaping Ireland’s new enterprise eco-systems, with SIRO pleased to be able to play our part in this transformation.
Early this month, Vodafone announced a new digital skills training programme for older people in Ireland, supported by Alone and Active Retirement Ireland. The programme aims to reach 230,000 older people over the next five years. The initiative is hugely welcome. It can make a significant contribution in bridging the gap between digital haves and have-nots. The digitisation of all facets of how we live often leaves those without technological literacy feeling disenfranchised. Many of us have experienced becoming the tech support for our parents or elderly relatives during COVID-19, connecting Zoom calls to relatives abroad, booking the COVID-19 vaccine online or setting up online supermarket home deliveries. Being connected was a lifeline for many cocooning during the pandemic. Yet many had to wait for their children or friends to get set up on tablets or iPads. Moreover, there were those who didn’t have anyone they could call and were quite literally left to their own devices. Independence is something everyone values, so Vodafone’s initiative respects this by providing those with poor digital skills with the autonomy to learn digital skills for themselves.

“This initiative shines a broader spotlight on the issue of digital divides across Irish society. These divides impact far beyond just our elderly. It can be an urban-rural divide, often closely linked to poor connectivity or absence of high-quality broadband in regional or rural areas.”

  Poor broadband is not just a rural affliction. It can be an issue in the heart of Drimnagh or Dundrum, just as much as it can be in the stony fields of Connemara or the mountains in Kerry. The use of outdated copper infrastructure across Irish towns and cities is still a reality; something that companies like SIRO, as it rolls-out 100% high speed resilient fibre broadband, are working to resolve. In our rural areas, the National Broadband Plan will also seek to level the fibre playing field. And yet the goal of achieving a full fibre Ireland grows closer by the day. There are also work-arounds which have been developed pending the full roll-out of fibre networks across Ireland.

“53% of premises across Ireland now have access to fibre broadband so the mountain is being climbed but there is still a bit to go to reach the peak.”

  One of these are Gigabit Hubs. Since 2015, SIRO, partnering with Vodafone, have been supporting community enterprise, regional development, and remote working facilities, powered by our one Gigabit fibre connection. With 16 SIRO Gigabit hubs now established across Ireland, these centres are providing valuable spaces for people to work remotely and for enterprise to grow collaboratively. These hubs are also creating their own ecosystems within their towns, supporting local direct and indirect jobs. SIRO’s vision is to address the digital divide by illuminating Ireland’s regional areas with speeds three times higher than the best available in Dublin. Yet, digital divides run deeper than just the need for access to fibre broadband networks. siro gigabit hub digital divides Research from the Department of Higher and Further Education found 50% of Irish adults lack basic digital skills. This could have grave consequences for our economy in the future. Prior to Covid-19, the SME sector accounted for over 60% of Ireland's workforce, and this crucial part of the Irish economy usually has the poorest digital ability. This sector was also the one most impacted by the pandemic and has the furthest distance to travel to economically recover from it. It’s not a coincidence that the most digitally literate and technologically advanced countries in the world, such as Japan, consistently score highest in global rankings of most entrepreneurial countries. Therefore, a solid grasp of digital expertise amongst the Irish population at large, and by our SMEs, is essential. The next generations, who come behind the business owners of today, despite the tag of being digital natives, research has shown also face challenges.

“This is the generation who will be the most reliant, particularly in terms of their participation in the workplace of the future, on having a high level of digital skills.”

  A survey conducted by tech leaders, last July, found that 76% believe that Irish schools are failing to equip students with the necessary digital skills, at both primary and secondary level. Some small steps in the right direction have been made, such as the inclusion of Computer Science in the Leaving Certificate examinations, for the first time in 2021. Alongside this, coding and ECDL have been included within school’s curriculums for several years prior. More broadly, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris recently published a new national strategy which aims to half the number of Irish adults who lack basic digital skills from 47% to 20% over the next ten years. It is important for Ireland’s social and economic development that this strategy delivers. The measure of its success must be a significant reduction in digital gaps across all groups irrespective of geographic location, demographics, or social status.  

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digihub launch at plaque Last Friday, September 17th, we announced the expansion of our Gigabit Hub Initiative to Stranorlar, Co Donegal with the connection of The DigiHub at The BASE Enterprise Centre, a new 1600 sq ft Digital Hub dedicated to supporting the growth of ICT and Digital businesses in Donegal.  The Hub is situated in The BASE Enterprise Centre, a 19000 sq ft Enterprise space built in 2015 to help attract investment and enable more to live and do business in the area.

By delivering Gigabit connectivity to the BASE Enterprise Centre, we have made remote working a reality for over 70 professionals, ensuring it’s as easy to do business in the Finn Valley as anywhere else in country.

John Keaney, CEO, SIRO

The DigiHub at The BASE was developed as part of the Digiwest programme with funding by the RRDF in partnership with Donegal County Council and the Western Development Commission. The DigiHub, which is located at Railway Road, Stranorlar, has a range of options available for remote workers, start-ups and established businesses with hot desk and start-up space on flexible arrangements, office units of various sizes, training facilities, and a range of meeting rooms. With Covid-19 fundamentally changing where people will live and work across Ireland, the BASE is aimed at enticing entrepreneurs and existing businesses to relocate to Stranorlar or offer 100% fibre-optic connectivity for remote workers based in the surrounding area.  The BASE is an independent enterprise space built and managed by BASICC, a local social enterprise dedicated to the regeneration of Ballybofey and Stranorlar. The new DigiHub focuses on strengthening the growing ICT and Digital sector in the area by dedicating a space for businesses in these industries to work together, sharing knowledge, skills and networks. With 23 desks available for short-term or casual hire, the hub can accommodate more than 20 tenants in addition to the business units available for permanent hire with capacity to accommodate an additional 50+ tenants. The DigiHub also offers a range of supports to start-ups including one-to-one business mentoring as well as access to mentoring through a network of support businesses via the Ballybofey and Stranorlar Chamber of Commerce; networking and informal learning opportunities; supportive promotion through social media channels; training opportunities; and signposting to key statutory agencies for assistance. One such company benefiting from the SIRO 1 GB connection at BASE Enterprise Centre is Secora Consulting.  Speaking at the launch of the Stranorlar hub, Phillip Close, Director of Secora Consulting said "The DigiHub will bring new and exciting opportunities for many in the Ballybofey/Stranorlar and surrounding areas. We're looking forward to being a part of the DigiHub Community and welcoming other Digital & ICT businesses to the growing network there as well. All of the business facilities required such as gigabit FTTH broadband, meeting rooms, recording studio, office space and co-working areas will now be available to support many with their business needs and ensure a healthy work-life balance.” inside the digihub The DigiHub is the latest to receive free SIRO powered one Gigabit broadband connection, provided by Vodafone and offered to 16 co-working hubs across the country. Launched in 2017, the Gigabit Hub Initiative was ahead of its time in aiming to spark a digital transformation across regional Ireland and boost local economies. SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic Gigabit connectivity, which is recognised as the international gold standard of broadband, is helping to reverse the digital divide in Ireland by offering connectivity that is better than what is available in Dublin.

These hubs, powered by 1 Gigabit broadband, are an example of how local people and businesses can work together to generate economic growth in rural areas, but they also offer employees and business owners access to the digital society and the opportunity to pursue their careers and business ventures in towns and villages across Ireland.”

Sinéad Bryan, Vodafone Business Managing Director 

siros john keaney at digihub Present at the launch of the Digihub was Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphries, who remarked: “As we phase out restrictions put in place during COVID-19, it’s more relevant than ever to invest in co-working spaces for those who wish to remain in their home counties and avoid long commutes to Dublin and larger cities. The launch of today’s hub in the heart of Stranorlar highlights the appetite for hybrid working in regional Ireland to remain. Thanks to the partnership of Donegal CoCo, the Western Development Commission, SIRO and Vodafone, this Gigabit hub can enable Stranorlar to have connectivity unparalleled to anyone in the country.” Commenting on the milestone of becoming part of the Gigabit Hub initiative, Kieran Doherty, Chairperson of BASICC said: “The BASE is a core part of the regeneration strategy for Stranorlar, Ballybofey and the surrounding area.  In order for the area to flourish, we have to be able to connect to any part of the world instantly and Gigabit connectivity means that we have the same world class broadband that is available in international hubs like Tokyo or Singapore. So we are delighted to be part of SIRO and Vodafone’s Gigabit Hub initiative as it will help us to keep people who had been working remotely in the area during the pandemic here and attract more people back to the Finn Valley.”  

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While broadband has always been important, at no other time has the role of connectivity felt more essential than during the outbreak of COVID-19. Everything from meetings at the office to classes at school and happy hours with friends on a Friday night are now occurring in the digital world. Reliable connectivity has become the only means for all of us to continue our work, educate children, stay in touch with our loved ones, keep ourselves entertained and more. SIRO as a telecom provider has been designated as ‘Essential Services’, and we have continued our build and installation activities following strict Government guidelines. As of April 2020, we are looking at 320,000 homes and businesses across 21 counties in Ireland that can benefit from life-changing 100% fibre connectivity. In this article, we outline our commitment and actions as an Essential Services provider to keep the people of Ireland connected through this difficult time. SIRO broadband

SIRO Build, Installation and Network Performance.

In the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, we have added an additional 10,000 premises to the SIRO network while following strict Government guidelines. Our installation activities are continuing where possible, to ensure that consumers can connect to SIRO. In March, our team completed over 2,600 installations across Ireland – that’s another 2,600 homes and businesses that can benefit from 100% fibre broadband in this difficult time. We have made it our priority to connect front-line workers and essential services workers to the network so that they can perform their duties in keeping Ireland running.

[caption id="attachment_5274" align="alignright" width="1300"] Cian O'Mahony, Head of Operations, SIRO[/caption]

In terms of network performance, our latest data show a major increase in broadband consumption during the day as the entire family or household are at home. Yet there has been no disruption to our service, as SIRO is built with 100% fibre-optic cables, and each Gigabit is capable of managing 400 times the average user speed observed on the network. Thanks to the power of fibre-optics, multiple devices can be connected simultaneously in the home, so that working parents can have seamless videos calls when the kids are streaming their favourite shows.

SIRO Gigabit Hubs are Open for Essential Services

Launched in 2016, the SIRO and Vodafone Gigabit Hub Initiative aims to spark  a digital transformation across Ireland, encouraging job creation and economic growth. Since then, these Gigabit Hubs have expanded across 15 counties and made remote working possible for many people. [caption id="attachment_5269" align="aligncenter" width="771"]Ludgate Hub, Skibbereen Ludgate Hub, Skibbereen[/caption] We are delighted that our partners Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen and HQKerry Hubs in Tralee and Listowel will remain accessible for those involved in the published list of Essential Service Providers, where they cannot work from home. In particular, the team in HQTralee has donated an entire floor as an overflow space to the Tralee Gardai on the frontline, to provide them with a 24/7 accessible space in the heart of Tralee. [caption id="attachment_5268" align="aligncenter" width="751"]HQ Tralee HQ Tralee[/caption]

As a nation, we are one community in the battle against COVID-19. As an Essential Services businesses, SIRO is committed to keeping the network stable and the connectivity robust in the times when the country needs us most.