Galway County Council and the Government of Ireland are pleased to announce the launch of Galway County’s Broadband Connection Point network. At present 12 BCPs under the Connected Communities Initiative are live in the county with a further 10 to follow.
Connected Communities is an initiative of the Government of Ireland, in partnership with Vodafone and NBI to provide high-speed internet access at publicly accessible sites for remote work, study, community/digital skills training, filling of forms and applications and a host of other digitally enabled services and amenities.
The first 12 Connected Communities in County Galway were launched by Cathaoirleach Peter Keaveney, Galway County Council to the Council of Elected Members at the recent plenary meeting on 24th of January 2022. Welcoming the launch of the initiative, Mr Keaveney said, “Galway County Council is delighted to launch the county Galway BCP network today. As one of the largest and most rural counties in Ireland, we must harness technology to ensure Galway remains an attractive place to live, learn, work, visit and do business. 2022 will see a number of thematic programs in the areas of remote work, digital skills, arts and e-health being made available to the BCP network with the goal of future proofing County Galway for the generations to come. Access to high-speed connectivity for all is essential for a digitally inclusive society and we look forward to supporting the BCPs and their communities on their journey”.
Jim Cullen, Interim Chief Executive Galway County Council, wished to commend all involved in the establishment of the BCPs, “the BCP project represents how the power of change driven on the ground at community level can shape our national future. Connectivity is a tool and its importance in regenerating and revitalising rural communities cannot be understated. I wish all of these communities well with their new Broadband Connection Points and am excited to see how they will grow and develop over the coming months and years”.
The initiative will unlock the potential of communities across the country through best-in-class WiFi connectivity, transforming how people all over Ireland live, work, learn and play. Connected Communities will be the vanguard of the rural digital revolution, showcasing rural communities as centres of creativity and innovation.
Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development wishes to congratulate Galway County Council on the launch of the Broadband Connection Point network, stating, “Connected Communities will unlock the potential in rural communities, transforming the lives of their residents. Whether that is connected working, the creative arts, eHealth or educational supports, the BCPs will be supported to provide the services that their communities need. These premises are not merely a stop-gap measure ahead of the arrival of the National Broadband Plan. It is our hope that they will instead become long-term community assets and fixtures of their communities – providing next generation services to Ireland’s rural heartlands.”
The National Broadband Plan is the largest infrastructural project in rural Ireland since rural electrification, spanning 96% of Ireland’s land mass. National Broadband Ireland (NBI) is the company awarded with the contract to build, maintain and operate the state intervention network for the next 25 years. The Broadband Connection Point initiative is a key part of the NBP and provides communities in the designated intervention area with connectivity, in advance of homes and businesses receiving future-proofed fibre broadband directly to their door.
Peter Hendrick, Chief Executive Officer at National Broadband Ireland, commented, “NBI is proud to be empowering the Broadband Connection Points programme by installing community facilities with essential access to free high-speed internet access. This connection in Galway will have huge benefits for the community. As our teams continue to make tremendous progress with our Fibre-to-the-Home rollout to bring high-speed broadband to every home, farm, business and school in the Intervention Area, Broadband Connection Points pave the way for the wider rollout of the National Broadband Plan and this is significant step forward for the Galway region.”
Each Connected Community will receive Vodafone WiFi access. This will enable people living in the area to go to the selected location and access WiFi for daily use including remote working, e-learning and general access. Sinéad Bryan, Vodafone Ireland Business Director said,“the continued rollout of superfast Wifi to crucial facilities across Galway, will play an important role in supporting businesses and economies to thrive in the future and support a rejuvenation of towns and villages. With over 234 community facilities now connected, we at Vodafone, alongside our key partners, are delighted to be facilitating a programme that will enable a significant transformation of how people all over Ireland live, work and play – truly unlocking the digital society”.
Funding to equip a number of sites was secured from the Department of Rural and Community Development. Five BCPs received accelerated Town and Village funding in 2020 and eight BCPs received funding under the Connected Hubs Fund in 2021.
The Broadband Connection Points currently live in County Galway are Comhar Chuigéal Teoranta Leitir Mealláin, Comhar Caomhán Teo, Leabharlann Inis Mór, Muintearas Teo, Inisbofin Community Centre, Glenamaddy Enterprise and Training Hub, Cortoon Community and Childcare Centre, Tuam Golf Club, Sylane Community Facility, Irish Workhouse Centre Portumna, Leitrim Ballydugan Community Centre, and Clonberne Community Enterprise Centre. Further broadband connection points will be launched in Halla Pobail Thír an Fhia, Comharchumann Mhic Dara, Ionad Pobail Inis Meáin, Clonfert WiFi Hub, Blue I Hub Milltown, Raheen Community Centre, Lackagh Museum and Heritage Centre, Ballinakill Community Hall, Clarinbridge Care Centre and Ballyglunin Station over the coming months.
Galway County Council’s Broadband Office wishes to thank all the local community groups taking part in the Broadband Connection Point scheme and hopes to see the BCPs go from strength to strength in the future with the new services they will be able to offer to their communities in the areas of remote working, digital skills, e-health and arts and culture.
Source: Galway County Council