Declan Rice of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership with with internationally-renowned fibre expert, John Graves, for the Blue Town Initiative
Kilkenny LEADER Partnership community broadband roadshows kick off this week with information meetings in Freshford Community Hall on Tuesday night, May 14, and another in Mullinavat Community Hall on Wednesday evening, all beginning at 8pm sharp.
KLP has teamed up with internationally-renowned fibre expert, John Graves, for the Blue Town Initiative which includes a final roadshow in Kilkenny city’s Pembroke Hotel on Tuesday, May 21. MC for all three events is broadcaster and journalist, Helen Carroll.
With Mr Grave’s assistance, KLP will help rural communities across the county to prepare the planning groundwork needed to set up their own community broadband schemes and turn their broadband ‘not spots’ into high-speed ‘hot spots’ with a far more affordable broadband service.
In all, 20 rural Kilkenny communities are identified as ‘Blue Areas’ in the National Broadband Plan (NBP). These will not receive any extra investment under the multi-billion NBP investment. The only option for them, KLP says, is to set up their own schemes, lay their own cable and run broadband clusters the same way many of the communities already operate group water schemes.
The 20 Blue Town areas in Kilkenny are Urlingford, Johnstown, Freshford, Ballyragget, Clogh/Moneenroe, Tullaroan, Kilmanagh, Bennettsbridge, Gowran, Paulstown, Goresbridge, Inistioge, Tullagher, Knocktopher, Ballyhale, Mullinavat, Slieverue, Piltown, Kilmacow and Mooncoin.
KLP is inviting expressions of interest in the county-wide competition from Kilkenny communities and small businesses interested in setting up ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) broadband networks. FTTP is the only accepted ‘future proofed’ broadband option, KLP says, and it will help communities who submit best plans in the competition.
KLP CEO, Declan Rice, said: “People living in cities have options when it comes to choosing a broadband provider. Even if you live in a rural community that has an acceptable level of broadband, you probably have only one source - two at most.
“But if you live in a community that owns the network, then you have clout. Similar schemes have been undertaken across Europe - including our neighbours in the UK. Communities there have dug their own trenches, laid cable, hooked-up homes and businesses and are now managing their own high speed networks.”