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Portlaoise Town Hall

Portlaoise Unveiled As Ireland’s Latest Gigabit Town By Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan

At an event in Laois County Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan TD announced that SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic network is currently under construction in Portlaoise. SIRO’s Gigabit connectivity (1,000Mbps) is 50 times faster than the average broadband in Laois1 (20Mbps) and services will be made available by broadband retailers to residents and businesses in Portlaoise in January 2017.

With over 40,000 premises passed in 17 towns so far, SIRO is Ireland’s largest Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) operator – the gold standard for broadband connectivity internationally. SIRO’s network is 100% fibre, with no copper at any point to slow it down. This means that the internet experience of Portlaoise will be transformed, catapulting the town into the international leagues for broadband connectivity, similar to Tokyo and Hong Kong and creating a platform for future economic development. For context, when downloading a standard high definition film (4 Gigabytes) with a 10 Mbps connection, the average download time is an hour – with SIRO it takes approximately 30 seconds.

Welcoming this positive development for Portlaoise, Minister Flanagan said:

“This process first started in 2012 when tenders for the project were first advertised and it is a very positive step for the county that Portlaoise is one of fifty towns in the first phase of this new broadband venture which targets at delivering the most powerful network to the town.”

“For the people I represent in Portlaoise and throughout the wider constituency broadband is necessary for so many aspects of day to day life – for education and research, for simple things like renewing insurance, booking flights, applying for a driving test, for keeping in touch with friends and family. Above all, good broadband access is essential if rural areas in the county are to be thriving communities rather than commuter ghost towns.”

“There are a number of small businesses, particularly artisan enterprises, in Laois who are creating employment in the area and are dependent on the fast internet speeds for the success of their businesses. Businesses simply cannot survive in rural towns without the global reach the Internet gives them.”

John Mulholland, Chief Executive Laois County Council, added:

“The imminent provision of high speed broadband access to every home in Portlaoise is a very significant and positive development. We are delighted that SIRO have come on board with this service at a time when the Council is making strident efforts to rejuvenate and consolidate the town centre. We see access to a high speed quality broadband network as fundamental to achieving our goals for a sustainable urban living model and to stimulate economic growth in regional towns such as Portlaoise.”

Sean Atkinson, SIRO CEO, added:

“Portlaoise is the second Laois town to get SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic network after we connected Ratheniska for the Ploughing Championships last September. Residents and businesses in Portalaoise will have access to broadband services that are three times better than the best available in Dublin and fifty times better the average service currently available in Laois. This is an important development for the town, supporting economic and social development and future-proofing Portlaoise’s internet infrastructure for decades to come.”

Using the existing ESB network, SIRO is delivered by fibre optic cables all the way to the building. This technology, known as Fibre-to-the-Building, has no copper connections at any point to slow down the network and delivers 1 Gigabit download and upload speeds. SIRO’s 100% fibre-to-the-building network is three times faster than the best service available in Dublin and 14 times more powerful than the fastest average internet speed in Ireland1.

As an open access wholesale provider, SIRO is also driving competition in the broadband market with four retailers – Vodafone, Digiweb, Westnet and Carnsore Broadband – signed up thus far and discussions continuing with other providers.

By the end of 2016, services will be live or construction work will be underway in 17 towns across the country by the end of the year – Westport, Castlebar, Dundalk, Cavan, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Tralee, Wexford, Drogheda, Portlaoise, Mullingar, Newbridge, Ennis, Ratheniska, Carlow and Skibbereen.