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27,000 Premises Available in County Kildare

SIRO, the joint venture between ESB and Vodafone and wholesale operator have today announced that over 27,000 homes and businesses can now avail of fibre to the home broadband. When SIRO initially launched plans for Kildare in 2017 in collaboration with its contractor Actavo, the broadband operator aimed to connect 17,000 premises across four towns. Naas, Sallins, Johnstown and Kill were the first towns to be connected under SIRO’s roll out. Kildare is now one of 21 counties that have access to connectivity three times the speeds of what’s currently available in Dublin, rivalling leading global cities like Singapore and Tokyo. Four years on, nine towns across the county can avail of 100% fibre Gigabit Connectivity. These include Naas, Newbridge, Athy, Kildare, Clane, Sallins, Kill, Kilcullen and Prosperous. Map of Kildare showing towns where SIRO is available

Hybrid Working - Dependant on Reliable Broadband

Since the onset of a global pandemic, access to reliable connectivity has been critical as we shift towards a hybrid approach to working, living and learning. Fibre connectivity is a utility that can withstand Zoom calls, streaming and large file uploads simultaneously; enabling residents of Kildare to do life differently with no lag or interruptions. SIRO’s network is built utilising the ESB overhead and underground electricity network, ensuring a fast and reliable connection directly to your home. There is no copper connection involved, meaning homes and businesses can reach speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. Commenting on the milestone achievement, Rodney Howard, Build Manager at SIRO said:
“We’re delighted to announce that SIRO in collaboration with Actavo have enabled 27,000 homes and businesses to avail of fibre to the home connectivity. When we first launched in 2017, we aimed to connect 17,000 premises. However, the demand for reliable broadband has enabled us to exceed our original goal, by almost 60%, more than doubling our presence from four to now nine towns in the county. Kildare is a county known for many things, one being its commuter county status but now that SIRO’s network spans across nine towns, we hope to enable the people of Kildare to work, live and play closer to home”.
SIRO CEO John Keaney, noted:
“When we first launched our fibre roll out to Kildare towns, we couldn’t have anticipated the full extent of the demand in the county. Demand for reliable and resilient broadband exploded during COVID-19 due to working from home and eLearning, in addition to staying connected with family and friends. These ways of living and working are here to stay, and fibre broadband is now viewed as an essential service. Just like water or electricity, high quality broadband is now fundamental to how we live. Access to this service gives individuals, families and communities much greater choice in how they live and work and in ways that work best for them”
SIRO fibre broadband for home is available to order from: Sky, Vodafone, Digiweb, Blacknight and PureTelecom.  

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Our Chief Commercial Officer, Ronan Whelan talks with Joe from Live 95 about the importance of a gold-standard connectivity in a Post-COVID environment as we continue to work from home. SIRO offers residents the opportunity to avoid slow downs during peaks times as we deliver a full-fibre network directly into the home. Search your eircode today and see if SIRO is available in your home or business.  
lisa-marconi-smart-design In our second instalment of the Smart Home series, we talk with Lisa Marconi, leading Irish interior designer and founder of the world’s first 3D digitised interior design service, Design Led. 

Tell us about yourself and career to date

I ran my own design studio, Dust, with my friend and co-founder, Sarah, for 6 years. For the first four of those years we also ran an online interiors store.  First as a bricks and mortar shop and subsequently, an online store.  We focused on residential work with a full renovation and new build service and a popular one-off consultation service.  The idea for Design Led came to me in late 2019. In early 2020, I began looking into it and was given a place on the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Entrepreneur Accelerator which funded me for 6 months to develop the idea. I accepted my place and we closed Dust in August 2020. I have been working full time on Design Led since my accelerator ended in February 2021.

Tell us about your company Design Led, it’s new digital platform for interior design, and what specifically it will it offer?

Design Led will offer a new way of accessing interior design expertise.  It will create a 3D world that lets you easily access professionally designed rooms and adapt them to your existing rooms. It will allow you to customise and personalise these designs, with algorithms in place to recreate the experience of having an interior designer by your side as you do it. You can design yourself, but in a safe space where it is hard to make a bad decision. It will then streamline the shopping experience so that you can buy everything in your room directly from your shopping list via the Design Led platform.  We want to make the entire process of putting your home together as seamless and easy as possible.

Who is the target market?

Our core market is really millennials/Gen Xers who aspire for a beautiful home but are struggling to achieve it on their own. They want help with their home design but they don’t want to use an interior designer. This can be for any number of reasons from the cost, to wanting to have more ownership over their home design. Our customers know what they want their home to look like but they’re just not sure how to make it a reality. Or they’re completely overwhelmed by all the choice out there and don’t know how to make a coherent choice that looks good. lisa-marconi-3d-design

Is this service the first of its kind in Ireland?

It’s the first of its kind in the world! There is no other product out there currently on the global market that is digitising the interior design process. There are low cost online interior design solutions and apps that let you draw up your home, but these are different.  The first offers the same design process as traditional interior design and so throws up all the same problems. Whilst the home design apps give you some of the tools that are similar to the ones designers use but they don’t actually offer you any design advice. What Design Led is doing is taking the tech of those home design apps and putting a layer of interior design over the top so that you are guided as you create your home.

Do you feel this is a natural fit for a generation of digital natives vs. older groups?

Yes absolutely, this is first and foremost, a product for digital natives.  People who look to digital products to outsource problems in their lives.  Unsurprisingly, our market research has shown the greatest interest in our product from this age group. However, interestingly, there was significant interest from an older demographic for the platform as well which I was surprised by.  There are several people from this group in our test group so I definitely don’t think the product excludes older people.  I would say though that older generations still place a high value on seeing products in person and are nervous of buying without doing this. There is a generational shift away from this with Gen X and subsequent generations.

What is the demand for this product?

From the market research we’ve done, people seem hungry for a new solution.  Many people who want help with their home design aren’t using interior designers for the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier. I think there will always be a place for the high-end, bespoke interior design but for those with smaller budgets, there is a gap in the market for something like Design Led. Our demo video which showed our new design process had a really positive reaction from the Design Led community. People are really excited about it and we have a growing list of almost 200 people signed up to our test group to use our prototype when it is released.  

"It’s the first of its kind in the world! There is no other product out there currently on the global market that is digitising the interior design process."

 

What would you say to potential customers who appreciate the convenience of the service but might traditionally prefer to physically see and touch the products?

I think things like improved product images on websites, being able to order fabric samples and seeing reviews has made the buying online process less of a gamble. You really can have a good idea of what you’re going to get before you buy. There are obviously still people who really want to see the physical object however I do think this is something more prevalent in older generations. I think if you trust the retailer you’re buying from and can see they have satisfied customers, then it is not something that a customer needs to worry about. And as the technology improves, especially with advances in VR, there is the potential for a user to be able to experience a product physically in terms of touch and look. At this point, I think physically going to a shop will become even less important.

Is there an opportunity for Irish companies to benefit more from the gamification of interior design in terms of the supply and sale of Irish made home interiors and furnishings to an online marketplace?

I think there are undoubtedly opportunities for all companies that sell products for the home in the world of 3D and it’s an area that is worth investing in. Currently using 3D design in your home design is predominantly for the higher end of the market and it’s companies at this end that create their products in 3D formats. This is changing as the technology becomes more accessible and, I think, for Irish companies to compete in the global market, this is not something that should be ignored.   digital-interior-design-siro  

What’s the ambition for your digital service, e.g. where would you like it to be in 5/10 years’ time?

We want to transform the way people design their homes. In 10 years’ time, we hope to be the number one destination for all things home design in the world. We have big plans in terms of the technology we hope to develop for our 3D design studio. We also want to use our tech to innovate the online magazine format and have plans for a home design focused social media platform.  We will be launching to the UK & Ireland this year and have plans to expand globally as our funding rounds proceed.

Finally, can you tell readers where to find out more about the service and how much you expect it to typically cost?

Our design studio will be completely free to use! Whilst we will have Design Led membership options which will give our users access to in person design advice and discounts on products sold through our platform, we’ve made sure though that the design studio itself is free. We wanted to make sure anyone could access it. People can see our demo video and sign up to be part of our test group here - https://designled.io/your-design-studio   

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Is it time for Irish homes to get smarter? SIRO's Head of Operations Cian O’Mahony gives his views on the life-changing potential of smart homes.

Is it time for Irish homes to get smarter?

For generations leaving the immersion on was one of the worst offences that could be committed in an Irish household, worse even than missing the ‘long’ mass on a Sunday. The arrival of the plug-in timer has resolved this ecumenical burden, for those of you who remember to use it! Now, technology has leaped forward again with the onset of smart homes. But what do smart homes mean in practice for Irish householders? Smart homes can mean different things depending on your stage of life and on the built environment or building type in which smart technology is being installed. Below, I look at these aspects.

Elderly

A segment of our population I have been very engaged with recently through lock downs, both personally and professionally, are those over 70. The bandwidth demands of our senior citizens is often overlooked. However, their ability to continue to adjust and use technology, particularly during the pandemic, has been marked. Many have lived through a world war and other life challenges, so they come armed with resilience and adaptability. The first thing to note is that elderly are serious bandwidth consumers already. Tablets for the zoom calls with grandkids in New Zealand, no problem. RTE Player on the smart TV? A must. DAB radio for the stations they prefer, even an old Amazon Dash Button to replenish the kitchen essentials. Society will always be judged on how it looks after the vulnerable and smart tech can give older people greater comfort and convenience in their lives. Stakeholders to the fore in enabling smart tech must now also look across the generations and consider how smart homes can better support our elderly in their earned autumn years. Technology is responding to this need, with the application of smart tech for the elderly an area which has really taken off in recent years. Increasingly it spans a broad spectrum from connecting with loved ones right up to sophisticated remote medical monitoring.  

"Providing the very best fibre broadband infrastructure creates the platform on which the full potential of smart tech will be realised."

 

Families

The volume of connected devices in the home now is a figure that varies depending on the publication, but likely north of 10, and growing rapidly. A key focus in this space will be privacy and security, as the application of technology to this demographic is more of a base skill set. We grew up with it to a degree. For SIRO, we recognise our role is to ensure we deliver a broadband installation which gives as strong a foundation for a seamless experience across all devices as possible. Positioning our entry point as close to the centre of the home, providing the customer with advice on modem positioning (no photo frames near it, not behind a TV, up as high as you can facilitate). In addition, we help customers connect their first two devices to the broadband network and carry out a speed test to demonstrate the product they have purchased is working correctly. Beyond this, our retail partners are coming to market with Wi-Fi enhancement products to further underpin the backbone connectivity which all these devices require. This will likely become the norm in all homes.

Youth

The pace of technological development has accelerated in each generation, and this will be no different for the babies born in 2021. They will apply technology available today in an even more sophisticated way than we currently do. The next generation will go further, turning existing technology features into tangible benefits – even to solve global problems. This will include reducing carbon emissions throughout the home through fully interconnected devices or making connected home security enhancements accessible to all. Think a fridge that adapts to the ambient temperature; a washing machine which senses the weight and shortens its spin cycle or a set of security cameras and scanners that have a WPS set up to the home Wi-Fi and link back to monitoring stations. These features exist today but applying them as standard across our homes will move the next generation on to a whole other level of expectations. Providing the very best fibre broadband infrastructure creates the platform on which the full potential of smart tech will be realised.  

"The pace of technological development has accelerated in each generation, and this will be no different for the babies born in 2021."

 

Built environment

As homes are constructed, we typically think of the thickness of the walls and the effectiveness of the roof. However, increasingly the commentary has moved to the presence of fibre broadband. A real shift in sentiment has been experienced through lockdown, and the feeling is that purchasers of all homes, new and old, are now attuned to the importance of purchasing a property that will facilitate their 10+ devices and importantly, the ability to work from home in the new post-COVID-19 normal. Fibre broadband is the gold standard in broadband connectivity. SIRO continues to work with a range of developers across Ireland to ensure our 100% fibre-to-the-premise service is available in all new developments.  We also advise on home layouts to ensure a customer can enjoy broadband from the first day they move in, including that the devices and the modem are strategically positioned to maximise efficacy of use. Similarly, with SIRO’s enterprise product we work closely with each business on the installation of our fibre service, in both new and existing business premises, to ensure they can use the service in the way their business demands. Whether that’s wireless connectivity with machines on a manufacturing floor or wired upload speeds capable of sending the next Oscar-nominated animation feature across the Atlantic to Hollywood studios. Smarter homes, in addition to retrofitting of older homes, can make a meaningful contribution in driving a more sustainable and energy efficient Ireland. Part of Ireland’s green and digital recovery must be fostered not just within our business community but also within our homes and a focus on smarter homes must be part of that objective. The ‘immersion generation’ can drive the smart home movement too. Investing in smart home devices might just be the way to exorcise their childhood demons! Cian O’Mahony, is Head of Operations at SIRO, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, rolling out a new 100% fibre broadband network across Ireland.  

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SIRO Ireland · SIRO Director of Corporate Affairs, Amanda Glancy Talks About the County Wexford Roll Out Plans.
SIRO, the joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, rolling out a new national 100% fibre broadband network across Ireland has today announced that the company is bringing fibre broadband to an additional 8,000 homes and businesses in Enniscorthy and Gorey. With this roll-out commencing in July; overall, SIRO is on a target to pass almost 20,000 premises across Wexford by end 2021. Demand for high-speed broadband is greater than ever and SIRO’s 1 Gigabit fibre broadband is providing families and businesses with faster video streaming service, a seamless work from home experience and ability to work on multiple devices without lags. SIRO’s fibre rollout in Wexford commenced in September 2016. Already close to 11.5K homes have been connected in County Wexford, including the towns of Enniscorthy, Courtown and Wexford town itself. An additional 8,000 homes and businesses in Enniscorthy and Gorey (and a small number in Wexford town where SIRO has already rolled out) will be passed by the company in the coming months - reaching close to 20K homes passed by SIRO by end of 2021. The total level of investment in the SIRO’s Wexford fibre broadband roll-out is more than €10 million. Ronan Whelan, Chief Commercial Officer, SIRO remarked, “Wexford was one of our first counties in which SIRO commenced our national roll-out, so it’s a significant milestone for the company that we will reach 20,000 homes passed by year end.  We are pleased that SIRO’s roll-out continued even during Covid-19 restrictions, particularly as broadband was needed more than ever by Wexford communities over the last 15 months.As more businesses migrate online, the world emerging post COVID-19 demands connectivity and a broadband service which matches the fastest and most reliable services found anywhere in Ireland, indeed globally.  Fibre broadband meets this standard and is also future proofed for ever growing data demands. Outdated and slower copper connections are no longer good enough and are holding individuals and businesses back in doing their everyday, but essential, tasks online.”

Almost 400,000 Premises Now Available on the SIRO Network

Over the past five years, SIRO has rolled out fibre broadband to 64 towns across Ireland, passing almost 400,000 homes and businesses in the process. SIRO’s fibre broadband network utilises the ESB’s existing electrical network, ensuring greater reliability and a greener network. SIRO draws on both ESB’s heritage and on-the-ground knowledge and Vodafone’s telecoms expertise to roll out its fibre network. Fibre broadband ensures higher speeds, superior quality, and reliability far beyond what copper connections, being phased out across the world, offer. The company also noted the ongoing work by Wexford County Council in promoting increased remote working in the county by those who, pre-pandemic, commuted to cities such as Dublin and to encourage Dublin-based companies to consider locating in the county. Ronan Whelan noted:
The position taken by Wexford County Council makes complete sense. People want lower costs of living, less commuting and a better quality of life. Wexford has so much to offer in these areas such as high-quality office accommodation, affordable housing, great quality of life and all within relatively close distance of Dublin. The final piece of the jigsaw to make it happen is broadband connectivity. Fibre broadband is the gamechanger in shifting people and investment back into regional Ireland, with SIRO’s roll-out to 64 regional towns including those in Wexford, working to that objective.”
SIRO is a wholesale provider, meaning homeowners in Co Wexford can avail of SIRO-backed fibre broadband through 7 different operators which are Sky, Vodafone, Digiweb, Blacknight, Pure Telecom, Rocket Broadband and Carnsore Broadband. Businessowners can also receive SIRO through Rocket Broadband, Vodafone, Pure Telecom, Carnsore Broadband and Blacknight. To check if your home or business can upgrade its connection to 100% Fibre-To-The-Premise Gigabit broadband, search your Eircode today.
On 17 June last, SIRO brought together a range of experts from the Irish video gaming industry, as part of our webinar “Gaming for Growth”. With diverse speakers from game development, eSports promotion and the IDA, the event explored if and how Ireland can grow the sector here further. The context to asking the question was important. The global video gaming industry is huge, valued at €140 billion annually. This makes it’s value twice that of the music, TV and film industries combined. It’s also an industry experiencing unprecedented global growth; up to 10% year-on-year. These numbers alone should make all stakeholders focused on economic growth and job creation sit up and take notice. Financial muscle apart, video gaming growth is now pervasive; it’s immersion across society evident all around us. Video games, already a significant consumer product before Covid-19, strengthened their market share of the entertainment sector even more during the pandemic. A recent Deloitte study  found that 87% of Generation Z, 83% of Millennials, and 79% of Generation X said they play video games on devices such as smartphones, gaming consoles, or computers at least weekly”. Equally interesting is who are now consuming video games. Here again, traditional perceptions no longer hold true with a rapid increase in female gamers. A 2019 study in the U.S finding that 46% of all gamers in the U.S. are female. A further key consideration about the industry’s growth is that it is now much more than just about mass entertainment. Gamification of multiple aspects of life, work or business is now standard. Take retail, eBay were one of the first to push gamification across a retail eCommerce platform. It’s competitive bidding system, buyer-seller feedback, and power of seller statuses turned eBay into a gamified platform. Others have followed, with Amazon applying gamification components albeit more subtly, in areas such as rating reviews or trusted sellers. Gamification is now also common in recruitment - used to test the aptitude of candidates or to give a better sense of the role with video simulation exercises. The U.S Army was one of the first to embrace this idea, providing would-be recruits with a gamified version of military exercises. In the UK, Asda trains staff with a smartphone game which simulates a store setting and customer conversations. Gamification has social applications too, increasingly used in healthcare for everything from surgical training to mental health and wellness programmes. In education too, the use of video games is now well embedded as part of the overall learning experience. These examples point to the diversification of video gaming stretching into expanding use cases. Add-in ever improving connectivity and reduced latency due to fibre broadband, as companies like SIRO roll-out high-speed fibre broadband, and the opportunity for Ireland to level up and grow the industry here further comes into focus. Ireland is not starting from a standing position. We have performed relatively well in developing the sector. Several of the bigger global players are already here, names like Activision or EA, in addition to a community of homegrown game development companies. Yet contributors at the SIRO video gaming event, noted the significant opportunity for Ireland to grab a much larger slice of the global video gaming pie. Key to this is supporting our indigenous game development companies to grow and scale. A template already exists. Internationally countries, such as France or Canada, who have rolled out ambitious national programmes have succeeded in creating world-leading domestic video gaming industries. Positively, their efforts have not gone unnoticed. As part of his Budget 2021 speech Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, announced that from January 2022 the video gaming sector would be able to avail of a tax relief scheme akin to the existing reliefs enjoyed by our film sector. The details are under discussion. The latter has been hugely instrumental in making Ireland a destination of choice for the film industry, creating a thriving local film sector. The hope is that, for the video gaming sector, it could have a similar impact. Though the proposed tax measures have been welcomed by the industry, a legitimate question has been raised by some industry players about the extent of the relief. In Canada, it’s possible for smaller game studios to receive financial assistance to support up to 40% of employees’ wages during their formative years. It’s a recognition that early-stage game studios can often have a couple of years with little or no revenue, in advance of securing a publishing deal. A factor attested to by John and Brenda Romero of Romero Games during the webinar when they spoke about their experiences of establishing their studio in Galway. The hope is that the Government’s proposal can be the starting point for further measures to grow video gaming development here. The return on investment for Ireland could be substantial not least because there are several factors which suggest the sector here is ripe to achieve to greater success. As noted, ever improving fibre broadband connectivity, and the ambition to reach effectively almost universal fibre coverage, makes Ireland a very attractive location for digital industries such as video gaming. Ireland’s position within the EU, as a Member State with a young, well-educated, digitally savvy and English-speaking population is another. Consider too the increasing range of creative, design and computing courses now available in our further and third level institutions. As the IDA’s Catherine Slowey pointed out a talent pipeline is key, and Ireland can point to a strong one. Yet with youth unemployment at 60%, many gifted graduates are struggling to find work right now. Covid-19 has upended many of the sectors of the economy we relied heavily on, such as hospitality and tourism. As we look to move beyond the pandemic, Ireland has a unique opportunity to reset and focus on industries which synch with an increasingly digitised world, such as video gaming. The attractiveness of Ireland to international and domestic video gaming players was best captured on the day by Brenda Romero, CEO of Romero Games, when she commented: “it made more sense to be here than it did to be in Silicon Valley...it made solid economic and solid creative sense to here [in Ireland]. We have zero regrets”. Amanda Glancy, Director of Corporate Affairs, SIRO.
SIRO’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ronan Whelan joined Mary O’Neill on WLR FM to discuss SIRO’s €7.5 million investment, connecting over 9,000 homes and businesses in Waterford city to 100% fibre broadband.
SIRO Ireland · Ronan Whelan says SIRO will roll out broadband to 9,000 homes in Waterford
Fibre broadband wholesaler, SIRO, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, which is rolling out a new 100% fibre network across Ireland, today confirmed that the company is on target to pass over 9,000 homes and businesses across Waterford city by the end of the year. The company also confirmed that SIRO will have invested €7.5 million by end 2021 as part of its’ Waterford city roll-out programme, bringing 1 Gigabit fibre broadband to homes and businesses. Access to high quality fibre broadband will provide city residents with a fit for purpose alterative to outdated and slower copper connections which many are still forced to rely on across the city. SIRO commenced its’ fibre broadband roll-out in Waterford city less than two years ago, in September 2019. The company’s fibre roll-out is ongoing, but to date it has passed premises in areas of the city such as Ferrybank, Ballybricken, Gracedieu, Lismore with plans to roll-out to additional areas such as Templar’s Hall and Foxwood by the end of year. SIRO has to date rolled out fibre broadband to 64 towns across Ireland, passing almost 400,000 homes and businesses in the process. The company’s fibre broadband network utilises the ESB’s existing electrical network, ensuring greater reliability and a reuse of existing infrastructure. Having both ESB and Vodafone as joint venture partners, allows SIRO to draw on both ESB’s heritage and on-the-ground knowledge and Vodafone’s telecoms expertise to roll out its fibre network. SIRO’s network is 100% fibre and delivered all the way into each home or business. Fibre broadband is the highest standard of broadband available and ensures higher speeds, superior quality and reliability, far beyond what copper connections being phased out across the world can offer. As working remotely, online schooling or shopping became a requirement during COVID-19 lockdowns, demand for SIRO’s fibre broadband has grown substantially amongst householders. Equally, with increased numbers of businesses across Ireland forced to close during three lockdowns, many pivoted online to ensure they could either continue to trade or increase their share of online sales. The company believes there is a significant pent-up demand for reliable fibre broadband in the South-East region, citing a recent Enterprise Ireland survey which shows 57% of workers surveyed from the region were seeking “availability of high-speed broadband. SIRO CEO John Keaney commenting on the company’s investment in Waterford city noted:
“SIRO is investing €7.5 million in its’ fibre broadband roll-out across Waterford city to end 2021 in recognition of the city’s importance as a growing commercial centre and the city’s potential for further significant economic development and job creation. Digital connectivity, unlocked through the availability of reliable, high quality fibre broadband which meets the demands of business and, now standard, multiple-device households, is essential to the city’s future growth and post-COVID-19 recovery. Fibre broadband is critical for Ireland’s regions to prosper, act as a counterbalance to larger cities such as Dublin or Cork and give people the option to work and live close to home. Research, particularly since COVID-19, shows people want to work locally or hybrid work provided they have access to a high speed and reliable broadband connection. Meeting this demand is, put simply, exactly what SIRO’s Waterford city roll-out is seeking to address,”
SIRO also notes the ambitious plans for the development of the city, such as through the Waterford 2040 – Find Your Future campaign aiming to decarbonise the city by 2040 or the Waterford County and City Council Development Plan, both of which have been developed by city civic and business leaders. These plans aim to grow the economic footprint of the city but also to create a city which is more sustainable and greener. According to John Keaney, SIRO’s fibre broadband network will provide a key foundation for these proposals, he noted:
“COVID-19 has shown that we don’t need to be stuck in our cars for hours on end, travelling long distances to work each day. Working from anywhere, whether our homes or a hub, is now feasible. This will do a lot to take cars off our streets, reduce carbon emissions and attract people back into our urban areas, but as more sustainable working and recreational spaces for workers and families. As SIRO’s fibre broadband roll-out in Waterford city accelerates, replacing out-dated copper connections, there is a further environmental return - with fibre 60% more energy efficient than copper. It also provides a future proofed broadband network primed to meet ever increasing data demands within the city over the years ahead.”
The company is urging all city homeowners and businesses struggling with online connectivity to check if fibre broadband is now available in their area.
SIRO Chief Commercial Officer Ronan Whelan: “Despite physical business closures over the past year, Irish consumers have looked to support local, Irish businesses. There is a huge opportunity for Irish businesses, post-pandemic, to continue to tap into the COVID-19 groundswell of consumer goodwill and loyalty toward Irish businesses.  However, it shouldn’t be taken for granted, with businesses still needing to improve in areas such as delivery charges and customer services”. A consumer survey undertaken by fibre broadband wholesaler, SIRO, has found high levels of support for Buying Irish amongst Irish consumers during COVID-19.  The research found that half of those surveyed indicated that they bought more Irish goods and services during the pandemic than previously and that their preference for Irish-first will continue post-COVID-19. Key findings from the research include: Importance of Buying Irish: 89% of people cite Buying Irish as being important to them, of those 37% believe it to be very important and 52% somewhat important. 11% stated they did not see it as important. Buying Irish during the pandemic: 50% of those surveyed responded that they are buying more Irish goods and services during the pandemic than they were prior to COVID-19. 41% stated the extent to which they Buy Irish is unchanged, with 7% buying less and 2% not sure. Buying Irish post-COVID-19: Of those who are buying more Irish goods and services during the pandemic, 79% say they will continue to prioritise Buying Irish after the pandemic has ended; with 19% not sure and 2% saying they will buy less. Support for Buying Irish amongst age groups and genders: Those 18-30 years of age are significantly more likely to see Buying Irish as ‘very important’ relative to older age groups. Equally of those surveyed, women were more likely to Buy Irish than men. Although no notable regional differences emerged. Reasons for Choosing Irish: The top three reasons are Buying Irish goods and services cited by respondents were supporting Irish and local businesses at 82%, the quality of goods and services at 63% and avoiding import taxes and charges at 49%. Most frustrating aspects of Buying Irish: The most common issues amongst respondents were delivery charges at 66% and customer services issues at 38%. Finally, when asked about choosing a broadband provider 34% surveyed had switched provider in the past year, with a desire for higher speeds and better value being the most cited reasons. Commenting on the survey results, SIRO Chief Commercial Officer Ronan Whelan noted: “What comes through so clearly in our research is that, despite physical business closures over the past year, Irish consumers in large numbers have looked to support local, Irish businesses, such as through online or click and collect services. This support for local and Irish has been pivotal in keeping many businesses afloat during the darkest days of COVID-19. “As Ireland now looks to recover and rebuild keeping this support engaged will be crucial. There is a huge opportunity for businesses to continue to tap into the COVID-19 groundswell of consumer goodwill and loyalty toward Irish businesses, once the pandemic has passed. “However, customer loyalty is earned and shouldn’t be taken for granted, with businesses still needing to continuously innovate and improve in areas such as delivery charges and customer services. “Today, SIRO is excited to announce that we are joining Guaranteed Irish. It’s a natural fit for SIRO. As an Irish company with a footprint across Ireland and through our work in connecting homes and business to high quality fibre broadband, like Guaranteed Irish, we have a shared objective of empowering Irish businesses to prosper and grow”. Guaranteed Irish CEO Bríd O’Connell stated: “I am delighted to welcome SIRO on board. As Ireland’s leading fibre optic broadband network, SIRO embraces our core values of building sustainable communities through enterprise, backing local jobs, and supporting homegrown Irish businesses to recover and grow. These values are showcased through SIRO’s commitment to connecting homes and businesses to high quality fibre broadband, in turn benefiting our local economy and supporting Irish jobs particularly in communities throughout the country.”
SIRO, the wholesale joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, have today announced that they have now rolled out their best-in-class gigabit fibre broadband to over 43,000 homes and businesses in Cork city and county. The company also announced that an additional 11,500 premises will be passed by the end of this year, bringing the total number to just under 55,000 or a third of all homes and businesses in Cork. Initially announced in 2017 by then Tánaiste and Minister for Transport, Simon Coveney, SIRO ambitiously set out to make Cork the “Broadband Capital of Ireland”. Since then, SIRO has been actively building a new national telecoms infrastructure right across Cork city and the wider county. SIRO’s network now stretches right across Cork city from Ballincollig, Glasheen, Bishopstown Douglas and Rochestown to Glanmire and within the county to towns such as Mallow, Midleton or Skibbereen. Nationally, SIRO has passed 375,000 homes and businesses right across regional Ireland. The SIRO network delivers 100% fibre all the way into the home or building, with no copper at any point all the way. This a high-quality, reliable and fast connection, with no slow down when multiple devices are working simultaneously, with equal download and upload speeds. Notwithstanding the restrictions due to COVID-19, SIRO has continued its fibre broadband roll-out across Cork during the pandemic. The need for connectivity amidst a global pandemic has motivated the company to further expedite their rollouts wherever possible. Cork residents, like those in every town and city across Ireland over the last 12 months, have had a huge demand for high quality broadband to enable remote working and trading online for local businesses, home schooling, movie and video streaming or online shopping. SIRO’s network has underpinned a new normal of large file sharing, video calls and live collaborative spaces. The company sees that even as the country opens up from lockdown that these trends will grow rather than revert to old ways of living and working. Commenting on the announcement, Cork Build Manager, Tricia McElliot said:
We are delighted with the progress SIRO and our partner CBE have made in making Cork city and county. The efforts made by our dedicated build team and contractors is something that is commendable, especially as construction ceased temporarily as a result of the pandemic. Connectivity is not just for the pandemic, and SIRO’s 100% FTTP broadband aims to future proof homes and businesses for future data demand.”
John Keaney, SIRO CEO and Chair of Telecommunications Industry Ireland elaborated:
SIRO are dedicated to our roll out in Cork City and County. Our roll out in the past year has been remotivated by the onslaught of COVID-19 and as a wholesaler, we are committed to delivering  resilient, quality FTTP broadband for homes and businesses across Cork. By the end of 2021, we will see approx. 55,000 homes and businesses across the Rebel County connected as part of our Phase One roll out, with plans to further develop our roll out across the county. Life is different now, and Cork’s broadband landscape is too."
SIRO is available to order from homes and businesses from the following retailers in Cork: Vodafone, Sky, Digiweb, PureTelecom, Nova Broadband and Viatel. Search your Eircode and find out if your home or business is SIRO ready.