Reversing The Digital Divide In Carlow

Press release
25th Apr 2007

Ireland’s first open access wifi network launched by e|net and Carlow County Council.

e|net and Carlow County Council today launched Ireland’s first open access wifi network. The first of its kind in Ireland, the network is being delivered almost three years ahead of Dublin’s proposed wifi network and covers 50% of the businesses and 10% of residences in Carlow town.

The network is deployed on the Carlow fibre optic Metropolitan Area Network, leveraging Government investment in the MAN Programme. Homes and businesses in the town have access to a world-class municipal wi-fi mesh infrastructure from today.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Noel Dempsey, TD, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, said “I welcome the expanded use of the MANs that this project involves. I am pleased that my Department’s investment in the Metropolitan Area Networks has provided a building block for e|net and Carlow County Council to make this initiative possible.”

Speaking at the launch event in Carlow today, Mr. Conal Henry, Chief Executive Officer, e|net, said, “e|net is proud to have deployed Ireland’s first open access wifi network in partnership with Carlow County Council. This marks another important step towards the Government’s goal of balanced regional development and helps reverse the digital divide in Ireland.”

“e|net is keen to work with the Department of Communications Marine and Natural Resources and LGCSB (Local Government Computer Services Board) to expand this trial as early as is feasible. It is my belief that, with appropriate funding, we could replicate the Carlow service in all 27 MAN towns within the next 18 months.”

The WiFi mesh network provides users with fast, synchronous internet access on a subscription or pay as go basis. The services are low cost and can even be used to make voice calls. From today services will be available to purchase from Brisknet and Aptus.

Michael Abbey, Chairman, Carlow County Council, said, “This is a landmark day for Carlow town, this new wifi network opens up a whole new world of potential to Carlow citizens. Carlow County Council is very proud to have co-developed and facilitated the deployment of this network using the Local Authority MAN and as a result we will be looking at new innovative ways of providing services to all of our citizens”

“The collaborative approach behind this project has been key to its successful deployment. Earlier this year Carlow County Council and e|net came together to deploy a Wifi MESH network in Carlow town centre. e|net selected world leading equipment from Tropos Networks supplied by Sigma Wireless and together with assistance from Azotel and ESB Contracts, this network is here today enabling operators to deliver viable, profitable and class-leading broadband services to end-users in Carlow.”

There are currently 27 MANs operational throughout the country and this will be expanded to approximately 120 towns as the Government built infrastructure is rolled out.