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Dublin City Council Launches Dedicated Telecoms Unit to Accelerate Digital Infrastructure Investments

Dublin City Council (DCC) have launched a new Telecoms Unit to accelerate the rollout of digital infrastructure and 5G deployments across the city. The Unit will offer a ‘one stop shop’ service to support the delivery of telecoms both underground (ducting) and over ground (supporting mobile and wireless services). With 5G services expected to facilitate a new wave of innovation and economic growth, DCC is making sure Dublin is not left behind. The establishment of the Unit will also assist DCC in meeting its obligations under the ‘European Electronic Communication Code’.

The Telecoms Unit within DCC will support the deployment of telecoms, creating a central point of contact within the organisation and allow for better use of DCC owned assets both above and below the ground. The remit of the Unit will ensure that future capital investments and infrastructure projects are ‘telecoms’ proofed. The Unit will work alongside the DCC’s Smart City Team to make sure that there is an associated innovation work programme that will leverage these investments, while also supporting the ambition of the National Digital Strategy.

The establishment of the Telecoms Unit is the culmination of collaborative work with the SFI CONNECT Research Centre for Future Networks and Connectivity hosted at Trinity College Dublin and the Telecoms Infra Project (TIP), which is a consortium of telecoms operators internationally working to accelerate the deployment of open and disaggregated network solutions and high-speed wireless connectivity.

Owen Keegan, Chief Executive, DCC, stated, “digital connectivity infrastructure, both fixed and wireless, plays a critical and increasingly important role in Dublin’s economic development. Covid-19 has reinforced the importance of connectivity in our cities and towns. Having the right type of connectivity is also essential for Dublin’s future competitiveness. We are entering a new era of super connectivity with the emergence of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks. Local authorities have an important role to play in supporting the rollout of these networks. Telecom’s infrastructure is now seen as an essential utility just like water and electricity. Dublin as Ireland’s capital city needs to position itself as a leader in digital infrastructure to realise its potential and support the connectivity needs of residents, businesses and communities.

Vish Mathur, Global Head of Engagement at the Telecoms Intra Project commented on the collaboration, “the Telecom Infra Project is delighted to have worked with Dublin City Council and the CONNECT Research Centre to develop a model of best practice for other cities to follow in how they support telecoms, and street level mobile networks deployments in particular. We are excited to help other cities accelerate the transformation of their mobile networks by using the blueprints and playbooks we have created for how telecoms operators, infrastructure providers and cities can work together”

Ossian Smyth TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate Change and Communications, with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy stated, “I am delighted to see Dublin City Council lead the way with the establishment of a dedicated Telecoms Unit to support the ambition of our National Digital Strategy. It is also great to see the Council collaborate alongside academia and industry partners to future proof the city. This initiative will support the delivery of new services and innovations which will bring significant benefits to communities and residents. Through National Broadband Ireland we are also investing over 48 million to connect 12,200 premises across the Dublin City Council area to high-speed connectivity over the coming 3 years. We need to make sure everyone is able to benefit from high-speed broadband if we are to realise the full benefits.”

Prof. Dan Kilper, Director of the CONNECT Research Centre and Professor of Future Communication Networks at Trinity College Dublin commented on the partnership, “Dublin City Council’s vision and leadership in its telecoms and Smart City programs have received global attention. Through our Enable Smart Cities Research Programme and OpenIreland Smart Network, CONNECT works closely with them to deliver innovative solutions for Dubliners and Ireland broadly. The launch of a dedicated Telecoms Unit will strengthen their impact and enable the CONNECT research and education engine to better deliver innovations and build the workforce in these high growth tech areas. We further join with DCC in their commitment to serve all communities equitably.”

Heather Humphries TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development stated, “Dublin City Council’s new Telecoms Unit is a very welcome development. For several years DCC, through their Broadband Officer and Smart City programme have played a leading role in trialling and deploying innovative digital technologies. They have shared their findings with colleagues across the country and have also fed into the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. The establishment of this unit is a significant development. It recognises that deploying telecoms equipment in the public realm is a complex task that needs an expert coordinating body. I am sure that many local authorities, urban and rural, will follow the progress of the DCC Telecoms Unit with great interest.”

Source: Dublin City Council

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