With a total of 4,086 dot.ie domain names registered in Waterford over the first six months of the year, the company which manages Ireland’s national domain name believes the Government should create a ‘digital town’ hub in Waterford city. IE Domain Registry believes that such a development should form an integral element of the Government’s protracted National Broadband Plan, which remains ‘in limbo’ following the resignation of Communications Minister Denis Naughten.
An independent audit into the process, which currently has only one bidder, has already commenced its work. According to David Curtin, the company’s Chief Executive: “Digital hubs act like magnets for investment. Gorey (Wexford), which is IE Domain Registry’s first recognised ‘Digital Town’, is a superb example of this. The co-working space here, The Hatch Lab, which is powered by high-speed broadband, is home to several European HQs, local entrepreneurs, and remote workers. The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen (Cork), which has a gigabit broadband connection, not only offers space for local entrepreneurs, but even offers its own business start-up fund.” He added: “At present, the Government is trying to be everything to everyone all at once, and that approach simply isn’t feasible. The delays that have resulted from this approach come at the expense of many regional urban centres that would otherwise have immediately reaped the rewards of a modern digital infrastructure. By channelling investment into towns with high-growth potential (particularly in terms of revenue generated from e-commerce) citizens, business owners and local government will benefit.”
Mr Curtin concluded: “We need to focus on making sure that SMEs outside of Dublin and other Irish cities not only meet the needs of local customers, but also have the capabilities to scale internationally and export to customers in foreign markets. A new National Broadband Plan must prioritise this and focus on turning Ireland’s offline high streets into digital towns.”