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A man pictured at the ploughing championships in Ratheniska in 2015 Laura Hutton/
fibre optic connectivity

This rural village is about to get some of the fastest broadband in the country

This comes as part of a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone.

THE VILLAGE OF Ratheniska, Co Laois is set to become the first area to benefit from a rural high-speed broadband programme.

The aim of this is to see how a similar programme of connectivity could be rolled out to other communities around the country.

This will be done with the introduction of SIRO, a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone that will deliver a 100% fibre-optic broadband network to the village.

Rural communities

This type of fibre-optic broadband is not the first of its kind in Ireland.

The scheme is already in the process of rolled out in Sligo city and Dundalk town. However, this next stage of implementation will bring broadband to more rural areas.

The village of Ratheniska, which also plays host to the annual ploughing championships, will see the SIRO network introduced into 17 premises, including 14 homes, Ratheniska National School, the Community Hall and Park Ratheniska GAA club.

Ratheniska was selected due to its being close to the national telecommunications hub and the ESB training centre in Portlaoise.


Speaking about the move, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, said, “It is vital that the digital gap between urban and rural areas is closed as high speed broadband connectivity is a major factor for the long term sustainability of rural communities.”

Residents in the town participating in the programme will receive 1 Gigabit connectivity. The system operates on a 100% fibre optic service, with no copper connection anywhere in the system.

It is hoped that the new system will encourage more people in rural areas to engage in online business.

The SIRO venture has seen a €450 million investment from ESB and Vodafone and aims to bring the fibre optic system to 500,000 premises in 50 regional towns around the country.

Read: Here’s how Dublin ranks in the European broadband speed league

Also: Ten senior politicians cost the State more than €700,000 each since 2011

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