Ultra-high speed broadband is on its way to rural South Tipperary at last!
A technical trial testing a new service to rural areas will be initiated in the Knockmealdown region within months.
Formal agreement on the trial was signed between South Tipperary Development Company and Chinese broadband firm Wuhan Vstar on February 2.
LEADER Companies in twelve other areas of the country will also facilitate pilot trials in their areas which will offer ‘next generation access’ (NGA) standard broadband coverage. If successful the LEADER companies and their Chinese partners propose to roll out a national network as soon as possible over the next couple of years, a service which will be well over the national NGA target speeds of 30 mega-bytes per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload.
South Tipperary Development Company CEO Niall Morrissey said “the LEADER companies support and welcome the aspiration of the state’s National Broadband Plan to provide high-speed broadband to all rural Ireland by 2020. However, we are concerned at possible delays in delivery to that timeline. The LEADER Companies decided to launch the innovative project because as community-based companies LEADER has become increasingly concerned at the tangible consequences of the digital isolation of rural Ireland’s businesses and residents highlighted in recent reports.
Development Company chairman Martin Quinn said - “Rural Ireland’s communities cannot afford in either economic or social terms, to wait on others- no matter how well-intentioned to address the broadband gap”.
The LEADER companies have worked proactively to address the deficit as soon as possible and these efforts led to the contact with Wuhan Vstar and following discussions to the signing of a cooperation agreement.
The technology pioneered in the trial is wireless-based but recent innovations offer much higher average speeds than the target included in the NBP. Used throughout rural China, the Vstar system has recently been exported to Australia. Ireland will be the first country in Europe to see its introduction.