Vodafone Smart Business Spotlight: Gigabit Hub

17 Oct 2019 | 10.00 am

Vodafone Smart Business Spotlight: Gigabit Hub

What is a Gigabit Hub and how can Smart Working benefit small businesses?

17 Oct 2019 | 10.00 am

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What would happen if small and medium sized businesses around Ireland got access to the best digital connectivity available along with the resources needed to take advantage of it?

That’s the question that Vodafone and SIRO – a joint venture with the ESB – set out to answer when they rolled out the Gigabit Hub initiative in 2017. The idea was relatively simple – provide a location where companies can get access to one gigabit broadband connectivity, the same kind of access speeds enjoyed by some of the world’s best known companies.

Set this location up and then use it to drive innovation and to remove some of the barriers preventing entrepreneurs from getting started. But instead of providing it in a city centre, put this high speed access in digital hubs, community centres and co-working facilities around the country.

“The reality is that having access to smart working opportunities means that businesses can really be based anywhere. Small and medium sized businesses can locate in regional towns and gain access to staff located anywhere in Ireland or in fact the world,” said Regina Moran, Enterprise Director for Vodafone Ireland.

Level Playing Field

“They can compete on a level playing field in terms of attracting and retaining staff and are often able to offer better work life balances, shorter commutes and better family life to prospective employees. This helps businesses and individuals in numerous ways, but it also helps alleviate the significant and dangerous problem of congestion in the larger cities in Ireland.”

Meanwhile research is showing that a growing number of people want more flexibility in their working lives and want to use technology to make this happen. They want to be able to work from home, on client sites or even just part time to accommodate a better work life balance.

This ‘Smart Working’ methodology is harder for smaller companies to facilitate than larger ones but access to a Gigabit Hub can make it a lot easier. Working with a Gigabit Hub allows employees to take advantage of the facility’s high-speed connections and work with international employers, while such hubs also allow smaller companies make use of the services of staff who aren’t located nearby.

Spatial Development

“The objective of the Gigabit Hub initiative when it was launched back in 2017 was to spark a digitally-enabled transformation across towns outside the major cities in Ireland and in the process support the creation of jobs, bringing life back to rural towns across the country,” said Moran.

“Now a new report produced by Vodafone examining the results of this project has been published, showing that having a Gigabit Hub in your area can have a profoundly positive effect for small to medium sized companies.”

While there are 15 Gigabit Hubs around the country, the report looked at hubs in Dundalk, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Carlow, Kerry and Cork and found that collectively these six support 176 businesses and 424 full time staff, along with a further 38 part time workers. These companies generate €27.46 million and allow a large number of people to work near their homes and as a result not have to move their families closer to a city.

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