The Western Development Commission (WDC ) has welcomed the announcement by Emerald Networks and Pipiper Infrastructure of their intention to effectively upgrade commercial broadband capability in the west of Ireland to world class status.
The US$300m project will involve a transatlantic sub sea data cable between New York and Ireland that will come ashore at Belmullet in county Mayo.
“The project should make the region more attractive as a location for data centres as well as providing opportunities for businesses throughout the west of Ireland,” Ian Branigan, WDC acting chief executive stated. “The announcement by Pipiper Infrastructure of its intention to grow this high speed commercial fibre capability through the western region by 2013 will offer locations in the region unprecedented ability to develop and attract industries associated with high speed data transfer, including data management, storage, and gaming and online sports."
As well as the proposed direct employment opportunities offered, the development will place the West of Ireland to the forefront of locations for international data storage and associated industry investments, and according to WDC Chair, Helen Rochford-Brennan, the development represents one of the most promising growth opportunities for the region in recent years.
The WDC recognises the critical importance of high quality broadband infrastructure in supporting regional growth and the knowledge economy.
Various reports and submissions prepared by the WDC have highlighted the importance of connectivity and the need for resilient fibre networks to support the delivery of high speed broadband services. High fibre bandwidth capacity is even more critical to support cloud computing as well as next generation networks and the ever-increasing range of online activities.
Mr Branigan said the announcement is a significant boost to the dark fibre network in the western region, and positions the region favourably to attract more broadband intensive businesses.
"Before this, Dublin has been the main location for such facilities due to their better connectivity. In 2013, the west of Ireland will be home to one of the fastest networks crossing the Atlantic, bringing significant benefits to the region," he concluded.