New fibre-optic network SIRO to be rolled out in Wexford
The councillors looked towards the future of Wexford as CEO of SIRO Mr Sean Atkinson gave a presentation on Ireland's first 100 per cent fibre-optic broadband network.
Wexford Mayor Cllr Ger Carthy welcomed Mr Atkinson to the meeting, along with Stephen O'Connor and Robert Tucker from SIRO. Mr Atkinson then used a slideshow to run through the new venture with the members.
The ESB-Vodafone joint venture SIRO will begin to be rolled out in Wexford at the end of this month. It will provide a 100 per cent fibre to the building connection, allowing consumers and business owners to avail of 1000 Mbps download and upload speed broadband.
'Upload speed is very very important for small businesses,' said Mr Atkinson. 'It is much more relevant than historically.'
'It future-proofs Wexford. There is no reason why we couldn't have business in Wexford the same as in Silicon Valley. I think we are going to see huge growth, particularly in the areas of education and healthcare.'
Phase One of the SIRO rollout will encompass 50 regional towns and is set to be complete by mid 2017. The first Wexford areas that will be targeted in Phase One are: Windmill Heights, Old County Hospital, Strandfield Manor, Priory Hall, Walnut Grove, Redmond Cove and Wexford Technology Park.
SIRO aim to have their first 500 Wexford customers will be signed up by August 2015.
Mr Atkinson ended his presentation with a short video, but several glitches and freezes made it difficult for all in attendance to watch.
The launch of SIRO was welcomed by all of the members. Cllr Jim Moore said that it was a 'good news story' for Wexford but asked Mr Atkinson what the definition of 'rural areas' is when it comes to the rollout of broadband.
'It seems to me that your interpretation of rural is questionable.'
Mr Atkinson said that they will first look at market towns outside of Dublin before looking at rural areas. He said that the best way to define a 'rural area' is by looking at what has been defined by the government.
'The best definition of rural is what the Department has defined as 757,000 homes,' said Mr Atkinson, adding that maps of these areas can be found online.
Cllr Lawlor said that since he was first elected, this was the fourth time that somebody has visited the council meeting to speak about broadband.
'We were a victim of the MAN project which cost €4 m but only has about 20 people connected,' he said. 'We have seen products peddled out in the past.'
'I have fibre where I am. As the crow flies, 500 yards away, you can't get it. Is it possible to get the supplier to look at areas where it is not available?'
Cllr Davy Hynes also said that his area of Davitt Road can not avail of fibre, while Cllr Tony Hynes asked 'when can rural Wexford have a connection?'
Mr Atkinson said that they will have rural connectivity built within the next five years.
'We are equally motivated to get there as fast as we can.'