Broadband 4 Our Community
Building a community-owned and future-proofed digital infrastructure.
On learning that their villages were outside the National Broadband Plan funding area, the community of Piltown/Fiddown built their own community-owned and future proofed "fibre to the premises" (FTTP) network.
Using analysis & development and training support from the LEADER programme, they developed a FTTP network installation project plan.
The community formed a separate social enterprise company, Broadband for Our Community (B4OC), to run the project. B4OC got support from residents, both young and old, and businesses, which facilitated community volunteers to installing the infrastructure necessary to create the network. Physically, this included installing a total of 480 metres of buried ducting and overhead fibre serving the community, and the building of supporting infrastructure.
Thanks to the project, the 750 homes and businesses in Piltown/Fiddown can now enjoy future-proofed broadband. This area is one of those communities that were unlikely to attract interest from a commercial operator to develop such a network.
The project achieved a model of social and financial innovation and was able to attract co-funding from local businesses.
B4OC’s exceptional achievement was recognised by Ireland’s 2022 "Digital Town" awards in both the business and overall categories. The project is expected to be replicated in up to five of the potential 25 towns and villages in a similar situation as Piltown/Fiddown in the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) area.
- Technical support is essential – B4OC are now able to share their knowledge with other communities.
- Promotion of the cost saving benefit for the service users is essential – the relative cost of the service is considerably less expensive than the equivalent commercial rates in similar sized communities. Real savings in the services user’s pockets fuels the desire to investigate and drive additional community development projects in their locality.
- Capital Investment is pivotal and should be secured at the earliest possible stage of the project.