New High Speed Broadband for Gaeltacht

Monday, 6 October 2008

- NUI Galway Extends Knowledge-Economy in Gaeltacht -
A new high speed telecommunications network, which will result in high speed broadband services, is being brought to the Galway Gaeltacht as a result of a joint initiative undertaken by NUI Galway, HEAnet and Údarás na Gaeltachta. The new network, which will be operated by AirSpeed Telecom, will support in excess of 300Mb and will be made available at seven of NUI Galway's Gaeltacht centres* and available for business users within the Galway Gaeltacht region. These services, to be launched today (Monday, 6 October, 2008) by Minister Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., will strengthen the University and its academic partners in delivering their core teaching and research mission. The work of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway's Irish language arm, will be facilitated, as the new services help it to 'collapse distance' and integrate its various units. Kieran Loftus, Director of Computer Services, NUI Galway, said: "High Speed Networking has featured in NUI Galway campus life for several years, but our presence also extends along the Western seaboard. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge has centres in locations throughout the Gaeltacht. The marine science research activities of the Martin Ryan Institute at its Carna location will benefit as will those of the Environmental Change Institute at Mace Head in Connemara and Carron in the Burren, Co. Clare. NUI Galway's knowledge region partner GMIT will also benefit from provision at its sites in Castlebar and Letterfrack". Kieran Loftus added: "It is not just NUI Galway that will benefit from these new services. Our academic partners, in both teaching and research, will be able to access our resources. We hope that our presence will stimulate new and advanced activities in these communities. HEAnet services are being provided in a way which will make it easier to provide services locally, perhaps acting as a catalyst and an enabler for the provision of good broadband services to these rural communities". The new communications network should make a significant difference to companies and organisations operating in the Galway Gaeltacht region, according to Pádraig Ó hAoláin, CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, which part-funded the service. "Broadband is like air and water to any modern business nowadays. It is simply essential. Having high speed access available in these Gaeltacht areas can only help retain businesses, encourage growth and attract others to the region. This project was also a joint venture with NUI Galway, who needed high speed network to their Gaeltacht outreach campuses. The provision of third-level accredited courses in the Gaeltacht is central to the Údarás' strategy and part of the bigger picture to help enterprise promotion for the area. This new network also addresses the lack of broadband connectivity in the southwest Connemara area and this investment by an tÚdarás and HEAnet now means that a high speed service is available to businesses in the area", he said. John Boland, CEO, HEAnet, said in advance of the launch: "HEAnet is bringing the power of the national and international research networks to these remote but important sites. This opens up a very fast and very powerful two-way communication channel and globally connects these valuable resources, linking the Irish sites seamlessly to the other 3,000 research institutions across Europe". Liam O'Kelly, Managing Director, AirSpeed Telecom, says: "AirSpeed Telecom is delighted to extend its network infrastructure in the Galway, Mayo and Clare region. Our licensed radio network is ideally suited to solving the geographic and cost challenges of providing high bandwidth telecommunications services in the region".
ENDS

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