Ratheniska has played host to the ploughing, and yesterday EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said the village would now be on a par with Hong Kong and Tokyo after the announcement that it would have super speed broadband.
Mr Hogan used his visit to the third and final day of this year’s National Ploughing Championships to announce that Ratheniska will receive the fastest fibre connection in the country, resulting in broadband speeds of up to 1 gigabit.
That will give it broadband speeds of more than four times that available in Dublin, with Mr Hogan saying: “This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for job creation. It means that rural communities can be real partners in building the service-led knowledge economy we aspire to in Ireland.”
The 100% fibre optic broadband network is being provided to Ratheniska under a pilot rural broadband scheme operated by Siro, the ESB-Vodafone joint venture company, which is investing €450m in broadband development in 50 regional towns.
“We know that access to reliable, high-speed internet connections will be absolutely crucial if rural areas are to thrive in the 21st century,” said Mr Hogan.
“Better connectivity also has a real social dividend, providing access to healthcare solutions replacing or complementing physical visits, decreasing the need for travel and promoting greater independence and improving quality of life for older people,” he said.
He said the development would incentivise rural dwellers to stay in their area, as well as attracting new residents.
The new service will connect 17 premises to a high-speed Siro network, including 14 homes, Ratheniska National School, the Community Hall and Park Ratheniska GAA club.
Siro said that Ratheniska was selected due to its proximity to the national telecommunications hub and the ESB training centre in Portlaoise, as well as its accessibility and its diverse demographic and occupational profile.
As an example of the speed, it said a high definition film (4gb) which takes one hour to download with a 10mbps internet connection, would take 30 seconds.
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