Communications Minister Alex White made the forecast Friday at the launch of the Ludgate@Skibbereen facility, a start-up hub which will boast broadband speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps when it opens in November.
He also confirmed government plans to go to procurement later this year to ensure that every home, school and business has access to high-speed broadband, even if they are in areas where commercial investment is not viable.
The 10,000 sq ft Ludgate Hub, based in the refurbished Old Bakery building in Skibbereen and made available by local businessman John Field, is the first of its kind in rural Ireland.
It will offer support and services for start-up occupants to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem which could create 500 jobs by 2020. It will create up to 75 jobs when it opens.
The project was spearheaded by a group of entrepreneurs, digital ambassadors and local business owners led by West Cork native and Glen Dimplex chief executive Seán O’Driscoll.
Vodafone Ireland is the telecoms partner, with the ESB and Vodafone fibre broadband joint venture company, SIRO providing the telecoms infrastructure at the hub.
Speaking at the launch, Minister White said harnessing digital technology was critical to Ireland’s continued success.
“Ludgate@Skibbereen is an important initiative which will create 500 direct jobs over the next five years while providing a blueprint that will help other rural communities to become part of our fast-growing digital economy,” he said.
Ludgate@Skibbereen will host Ireland’s first National Digital Week in November 2015 to coincide with its official opening.