The community built its own 150mb plus network
Piltown has been announced as the overall winner at the second annual .IE Digital Town Awards 2022, after picking up first place award in the Digital Business category.
The result was announced today (Wednesday), at a virtual awards ceremony attended by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English.
The .IE Digital Town Awards were established in 2021 by .IE, the managers of Ireland’s trusted online .ie address.
The awards recognise local town and community projects and the people that are using digital innovation, technologies, and digital-first thinking for the betterment of towns, citizens, and services in the community.
Piltown’s ‘Taking Charge of our Digital Future’ entry was shortlisted in two categories (Digital Business and Digital Changemaker) for its work in building, promoting, and managing the village’s high-speed network.
The judging panel commended Piltown for the manner in which the local community had fully embraced the project with landowners granting access to land and volunteers working to lay more than 6km of cables, training as fibre optic technicians and providing crucial expertise pro bono.
“The community of Piltown showed extraordinary resolve and determination in putting their town on the digital map," Chair of the judging panel Joan Mulvihill said.
"The support from businesses and landowners in granting access to land, those who prepared the ground and laid the cables, every aspect of this entry is commendable. In recognising Piltown with this award we are confident that this is just the start for them with great things to come. This is truly a lighthouse digital town.”
Piltown is believed to be Ireland’s first community owned and managed FTTP ‘fibre to the premises’ network. As part of the initiative four members of the community have been trained as fibre optic technicians and a digital hub and community centre now serves 37 groups in the area.
As winner in the Digital Business category, Piltown’s ‘Taking charge of our Digital Future’ won a prize of €9,000. It was then awarded an additional prize of €10,000 as overall winner bringing its total prize winnings to €19,000.
This year’s .IE Digital Town Awards had a focus on communities and digital leaders that have adopted new ways of thinking to enhance localities through innovative use of digital tools to provide digital equity in the community, close the digital divide, facilitate emergency response, improve digital infrastructure, and enable digitisation of culture and oral traditions.
Projects were shortlisted in the categories of digital education, digital tourism, community digital as well as digital business, while three special prizes honouring individuals and communities making significant difference to the digital betterment in local towns were also awarded under the categories of digital rising star, digital changemaker and digital local hero.
Congratulating the high calibre of entries, Minister English said: “The awards are an important annual event that recognise the remarkable efforts made by our local digital champions who are determined to futureproof the places where they work, rest and play. The bar this year has been set exceptionally high, with many inspiring examples of digital leaders in our communities that are transforming local life and society in innovative and creative ways.”
There was a total prize fund of €100,000 across seven award categories. Thirteen counties had one or more project nominated including Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Kerry, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo.
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