The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, Co. Cork, named after Percy Ludgate, a computer pioneer born in the town in 1883, provides an exciting glimpse of how rural Ireland will benefit from the full rollout of the Government’s National Broadband Plan.

The Ludgate Hub is a 10,000 sq. ft digital hub, boasting a 1,000mbps connection, which is located in an old cinema and bakery. The hub, which was opened in July 2016, is the first resource of its kind in a non-urban area in Ireland. Businesses operating from the hub have cited the “unparalleled broadband speed” as a primary reason for establishing operations there and its occupants work in a collaborative and creative work environment.

The long-term vision of the board governing the operations of the hub is to make Skibbereen a hotspot for technology startups and multinationals. In that regard, the initiative aims to facilitate up to 75 digital entrepreneurs with a view to creating over 500 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs in the West Cork area by 2020. The insights gained in the establishment of the Ludgate Hub will, over time, be shared with other rural areas in order to help generate rural development on a larger scale.