Smart Education in Ireland : New rural digital hub to create 500 jobs in Cork

Ireland’s first rural digital hub aims to create 500 jobs over the next five years in Skibbereen, Co Cork.

The 100 square foot building, which will be based in the refurbished old bakery building in the west Cork town, will originally house up to 75 digital, technology and science innovators.

It then aims to expand to create a total of 500 jobs by 2020.

The project will be named the Ludgate Hub, after Skibbereen native Percy Ludgate, who was born in the area in the 1880’s and is credited with developing the first portable computer.

The project is the first of its kind in a non-urban area in Ireland and it is hoped it could become a catalyst for other rural areas to develop similar digital hubs.

Minister for Communications Alex White said that “harnessing digital technology is critical to Ireland’s continued success.”

“Ludgate at Skibbereen is an important initiative, which will be supported by my Department through the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.

“It 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,” said Minister White.

Vodafone Ireland will partner with the project and provide the infrastructure to support 1000 Mbps speeds of high-quality fibre broadband connectivity.

“The government’s National Broadband Plan has created the conditions for accelerated commercial investment in high-speed broadband services, which is enabling projects like Ludgate at Skibbereen.

“The next phase of the plan will see the government go to procurement later this year to ensure that every home, school and business has access to high-speed broadband, even if they are located in areas where commercial investment isn’t viable,” added Minister White.

Leonard Donnelly of the Ludgate at Skibbereen Steering Group said: “Our bottom up plan for the area is a new bandwidth based bridge where we can now link arms to promote Skibbereen with government agencies, form partnerships with other Digital Co Ops and most importantly involve all our families working abroad and away from home, to shape their future in the place they all call home in West Cork.”

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