Independent TD Michael Lowry has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Mr Denis Naughten, to urgently advance the Government’s National Broadband Plan for County Tipperary.
Currently there exists over 41,000 properties across Tipperary without broadband and of these over 8,000 are businesses of varying sizes, each attempting to compete in the wider market place. Larger towns like Clonmel, Thurles, Nenagh, Tipperary Town and Templemore are well served by commercial operators; however other smaller towns and villages right across Tipperary require immediate intervention by the government.
Deputy Lowry recently contacted Minister Naughten; highlighting that “a key element for rural development must be to invest in infrastructure in areas outside of our main towns and cities. The absence of high speed broadband is a significant issue in attracting foreign direct or other investment to rural areas, thus obstructing all future job creation in Tipperary”. Lowry further insisted that “the State now fast-track the necessary capital funding into the Broadband process to expedite the roll-out schedule and guarantee rural broadband to 100% of Tipperary homes and businesses.”
The Independent TD continued, “The Government must review its current time-line on Broadband issues and stop referring to it as anything other than what it actually is, a basic and essential utility. Lack of Broadband is threatening the very growth capacity of entire local economies, particularly in Co. Tipperary. Broadband has become a critical factor to 21st century business life, and rural businesses rightfully feel abandoned and unable to compete, while city based businesses continue to thrive.
This same digital divide now places rural Ireland at a massive disadvantage and is not just failing individuals and businesses in their ability to communicate, but is also affecting students in our educational system to adequately engage in their intellectual pursuits; much of which now depends on having access to basic Internet facilities.
Obviously the lack of basic Broadband accessibility is only one of the many areas that need to be scrutinised in an effort to stop the everyday curse of migration, emigration and unemployment. These factors are draining rural areas of their very livelihood. However, with rural Ireland lacking critical 21st century infrastructure in providing 21st century opportunities, rural dwellers will continue to flee in favour of greater prospects elsewhere.
Business, whatever its size is the very lifeblood of every economy and if entrepreneurship is to be encouraged to set up in rural Ireland, access to Broadband is now essential if we are to work, grow and fairly compete,” concluded Deputy Lowry.
Hawk-Eye score verification technology is expected to be up and running here in Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co Tipperary this summer, 2015, in time for the Munster SHC quarter-final between Clare and Limerick.
This technology was given the green light for installation in several major stadia outside Croke Park at last year’s GAA Congress. However with Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Casement Park both undergoing complete reconstruction at present, this technology is expected to be undertaken at Semple Stadium first.
With a feasibility study of Semple Stadium now completed, it is expected that this technology can be installed in time for the start of this summer’s Munster hurling championship, scheduled for the end of May initially, while using a temporary screen.
Semple Stadium will also host a Munster football quarter-final between Tipperary and Waterford, followed by a provincial hurling semi-final between Cork and Waterford before the second week of June, so for testing purposes alone, getting this technology up and running by May ‘s end would represent good planning.
This verification technology was called into use to decide the All-Ireland senior hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary last September 2014 in Croke Park Stadium, ruling that John O’Dwyer’s final action free, before full-time, was indeed narrowly outside the target zone, thus resulting in both teams having to replay.
Leading gaming experts including Head of EA to participate in LIT/Microsoft Ireland event in Thurles.
Shannon Mostert and Ciara Bull from Nenagh, Co Tipperary
Some of the biggest names in the gaming industry will gather at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) campus here in Thurles later this month to participate in Games Fleadh 2015, an all-island games design and development competition for third-level students.
LIT Tipperary, whose alumni have worked on some of gaming’s biggest titles including ‘Call of Duty’, ‘StarCraft’ and ‘Guitar Hero’, has announced it will host Ireland’s largest gaming event on Wednesday March 11th.
Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games and the Irish Computer Society, the 12th annual Games Fleadh will feature the ‘Direct X’ Endless Runner challenge, Robocode and the Game Studio ‘Endless Runner’ competition, the winners and runners up of which will present their games to Brenda and John Romero and the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Greenlight Committee.
Games Fleadh 2015 – Open to the public for free
Brenda and John Romero have each more than 30 years experience working in the gaming industry, over 150 game titles such as DOOM and Quake to their credit, dozens of awards and have collectively founded nine game companies.
Games Fleadh will also feature games development and research talks by industry veterans such as Bryan Neider who will assist in the judging process for the various under graduate competitions. Neider is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Electronic Arts (EA) labels, which collectively are responsible for producing some of the bestselling video game titles of all time including The Sims, FIFA, Battlefield and Madden NFL.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for students to create a prototype game, meet people from industry and make a name for themselves within the Irish game sector,” said Dr. Liam Noonan, Lecturer at LIT’s Game Design and Development degree in Thurles at the launch of Games Fleadh 2015.
“In terms of career development, participating in this competition is invaluable as students are adding to their portfolio of creative content and networking with students from other colleges and people from the games industry. It is these up and coming game developers and their innovative ideas that will act as the catalyst for job creation in the Irish game development sector,” added Dr. Noonan.
According to Dr. Noonan: “We were delighted and privileged to work with the Fulbright U.S. Specialist Award scholar Brenda Romero and her husband John back in September in our Thurles campus and they were very supportive of our Games Fleadh initiative. They suggested that the 2015 theme should be Endless Runner as this would allow students flexibility in designing either a 2D or 3D game.”
Commenting about Games Fleadh 2015, Brenda and John Romero said: “We are really excited to be involved in Games Fleadh this year. Having travelled all over Ireland and met hundreds of students and game developers, we know how much talent the country has and are looking forward to seeing this year’s results.”
Speaking ahead of his visit to Ireland, Mr. Bryan Neider stated: “I am looking forward to meeting the games design and development students at LIT Games Fleadh 2015, discussing their “Endless Runner” games and sharing our experiences at EA Games in the design and development of future titles.”
Stephen Howell, Academic Engagement Manager, Microsoft Ireland commented: “Microsoft is delighted to be on board sponsoring the Games Fleadh once again in 2015. We have demonstrated our commitment to the competition over the long term as it represents a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the immense third level games design talent in this country. It also plays a unique role in promoting knowledge-sharing, with international experts taking part and the latest research in the field up for discussion.”
Games Fleadh 2015 is open to the public for free. Online registration is available at www.gamesfleadh.ie.
For more visit www.twitter.com/gamesfleadh or search Twitter #gamesfleadh.
Three young Tipperary entrepreneurs are flying the Tipperary flag at the regional final of the inaugural ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, which is offering an investment prize-fund of €2 million.
All under the age of 30 years, the local business owners and new start-ups are going head-to-head with other winners from Clare, Kerry and Limerick this coming Wednesday (12th November) for a chance to win a place at the national final in Dublin this December, in a competition co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary.
Launched by the Government earlier this year, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition is a core part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country.
The Tipperary winners, who have been selected to represent Tipperary at the ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ regional finals 2014.
Tom Ryan from Adsmart & TownSmart (Tipperary Best Young Entrepreneur and Best Start Up Business Category Winner).
Townsmart is a new add-on to Adsmart based in Nenagh and is a technology platform that will provide individual Micro & Small businesses with their own platform. Users can avail of professionally designed templates to create campaigns across print, digital, social and mobile media at a price they can afford.
Chris Shanahan from Chris IT (Best Established Business With New Add On).
Chris Shanahan, is a young man who identified a niche in the market for unlocking mobile devices such as phones, ipads etc. He set up an on line business through which customers can apply to have their mobile devices unlocked. The venture attracts an International clientele with customers located across the world.
Philip Martin from Blanco Nino (Best New Idea).
Blanco Nino will produce corn based tortillas for the food service market. The products – soft corn tortillas, frying tortillas and uncooked chips will be manufactured using a traditional Mexican process and then frozen for sale into the food service market via a range of distributors targeting restaurants/cafes/Mexican eateries.
The three category winners from Wednesday’s (12th November) Regional Final will progress to the national stage of the competition, which will conclude with an awards ceremony on December 6th next.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. has stated: “Central to our plans for jobs and growth is supporting more businesses to start-up. Part of this plan is also fostering a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and promoting start-up business as a career option for young people. That is what is behind this new competition to find the best young entrepreneur in the region also ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.”
Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, M/s Rita Guinan has stated: “Our winners are proudly ‘flying the flag’ for the county, competing against other young entrepreneurs in the region, for a place at the prestigious national final. But the benefits of entering the competition don’t end there. Throughout Ireland, over 400 finalists have already benefited from intensive business boot-camps and mentoring programmes at local level, so the impact of the IBYE programme will be seen for many years to come.”
Next Wednesday’s regional final takes place in The Castletroy Park Hotel from 6.30pm to 9.00pm and the Mayors and Cathaoirligh of all participating local authorities are being invited to attend, along with representatives of the business community. The awards host will be Cathy Halloran, RTE Mid West Correspondent and the event will feature a presentation by Paul Collins of Design Pro Ltd., National Enterprise Award Winner 2013.
For all the latest news and results for the ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, visit www.ibye.ie, www.localenterprise.ie or search #ibye on social media.
The European Union has been called on to back a proposal to bridge the digital divide in the rural communities of Tipperary Clare, and Limerick which are unable to access fibre or wireless broadband services.
The Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Mid-West Office (formerly Mid West Regional Office) and Clare-based Slí Nua Development are partners of an EU-funded Satellite Broadband for European Regions project (SABER).
The network met in Brussels today to launch a Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme which it said should be implemented by the members of the EU and their regional governments, to encourage awareness and take-up of satellite broadband solutions across Europe’s most rural regions.
The meeting brought together representatives from 21 European regional authorities, satellite experts and key influencers, including Eutelsat, SES Broadband Services, Airbus Defence and Space, to examine how to accelerate broadband adoption in rural areas.
Majella O’Brien, EU Projects Officer, SERA Mid West Office said the Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme would be of assistance to communities in the Mid West which have yet to benefit under successive National Broadband schemes and are unlikely to be able to access affordable broadband services in the near future.
“Satellite broadband is a practical and viable solution today but the expense associated with setting up and subscribing to the service can be prohibitive for many. Unlike in North America and Australia, Europe has been relatively slow to drive awareness, acceptance and adoption of satellite technology,” she explained. Ms. O’Brien continued: “Satellite broadband is a viable option for many rural communities which find themselves in a broadband black spot. The Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme is one method of increasing its take up and helping rural households and business to bridge the digital divide.”
Patrick Sullivan of Slí Nua Development, an economic development company and SABER project member based in the rural East Clare village of Ogonnelloe, is also backing the proposed Satellite Broadband Voucher Scheme.
“In this digital world, it has been widely accepted that business competitiveness relies on having access to affordable broadband services,” he explained, “However, businesses that are located in remote and rural areas of Tipperary, Limerick, and Clare for example, are disadvantaged because they are not able to access affordable broadband services; especially at the higher broadband speeds that are necessary for them to exploit the increasing number of ICT applications and services that are now available on the market.”
Mr. Sullivan said one solution to addressing the digital divide is the delivery of Broadband Services through satellites, in the same way as many of us receive our television programmes. He continued: “Significant technological advancements have been made in satellite technology which has resulted in this being a reliable medium for the delivery of broadband services. Businesses in rural and remote areas can therefore now gain access to broadband services through satellite technology.”
Mr. Sullivan said that the SABER project has developed guidance, in particular targeted at Regional Policy makers, to make them aware that Satellite technology is available to deliver broadband services. The guidance, written by Slí Nua Development and Eutelsat, and which has been reviewed by 17 regions from across Europe, has focussed on the selection of appropriate technologies and deployment models; building the business case for investing in broadband support programmes; exploring funding options; dealing with state aid; and procuring satellite solutions.
“Through supporting the development of this guidance, the European Commission has sought to encourage Regional Policy makers from across Europe to consider satellite solutions when preparing their plans to bridge the digital divide in their respective areas,” added Mr. Sullivan.
Led by CSI-Piemonte in Italy, the 24-month SABER project is partially EU-funded and involves 26 partners, 21 regional authorities and ICT public and private organisations supporting regions in broadband deployment representing 13 countries. During its lifespan, the SABER project has published important, practical information, guidelines and toolkits (some available in several languages) to help national and regional governments close the European Digital Divide by using satellite broadband technology.
For more visit www.project-saber.eu.