A unique community broadband service and a new remote working hub look set to make one Kilkenny village a high-tech centre for working and living.
Two major announcements for Piltown will make it the envy of other rural communities.
Last week a high speed broadband service in the village went live for the first time. Within a few days a government funding injection of €500,000 for the creation of a remote working hub in the village’s old garda station was also announced.
The projects are separate, but together will bring great change to that area of south Kilkenny.
B4OC, Broadband for our Community, was formed to develop Piltown parish’s own, top-standard, broadband ‘fibre to the premises’ when it was realised it would be 2023 at the earliest before the National Broadband Plan would serve even part of the area. Kilkenny Leader Partnership KLP and its philanthropic funding partner, the Tomar Trust supplied technical assistance, planning, training and capital funding to the community to develop and advance the project.
Parts of the village had adequate, but not future-proofed high-speed broadband, while the rest of the community had sub-standard connections.
That was until last week when a 1 gigabite/ second signal went live in Piltown - ten times faster than most people are getting in any part of the country, according to B4OC chairman Brian Doyle.
It will take some time to roll out this service to the whole community. In this first phase about 30 houses and two businesses will be connected. It is hoped two or three more phases of the roll out can be completed this year. The plan outlines ten phases to serve the whole community, but the roll out is expected to speed up as it progresses.
The project aims to be self-funding and not for profit.
What makes the project unique is that it is entirely owned by the community. It’s the first broadband project of this kind in the country and the example is expected to be followed by other communities.
The board of B4OC believe access to reliable high-speed broadband is essential to attracting SMEs but the project is much more than that. The community gains not only by having access to faster broadband for families, schools and other community buildings, but also having access to a local service provider that cares about service to its neighbours and can use profits from the company to benefit the community.
For now, with the success of phase one, Brian said “we can say we did this and that it works.”
Anyone interested in connecting to the service can find information on https://betterbroadbandforpiltown.com/
Remote work hub
Dovetailing nicely with B4OC going live, last week major funding was announced to set up a remote working hub in Piltown.
Under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme €500,000 was allocated to the development of the hub.
Not only will this project create workspaces but will also result in the regeneration of the former Garda Station in Piltown. The redevelopment of this heritage building will see it repurposed as a remote working hub, which can accommodate up to 20 people.
Brain Doyle said he hopes B4OC will be the broadband provider to the hub. It is thanks to the efforts of Piltown Community Enterprise, and partners, that the Town and Village Renewal Scheme funding application was successful.
In total €1,135,785 was allocated to projects in Kilkenny under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, last week. Communities in Gowran, Kilmanagh, Urlingford, Graiguenamanagh and Piltown will benefit from the funding.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Fidelis Doherty, said: “This is wonderful and exciting news for the communities of these five towns. This funding is about helping our towns and villages become more attractive places to live, work and do business.”
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