Ireland’s Digital Town 2019 has gone to Sligo highlighting its achievements in digitisation. The initiative, founded by IE Domain Registry, aims to convey the benefits that the internet brings to towns. Furthermore, they work at ensuring local economies and SMEs about advantages and potential of digital technology.
This event was celebrated at The Model Gallery, Rathquarter, Sligo. IE Domain Registry CEO, David Curtin, spoke at the event. He recognised Sligo the ‘digital powerhouse’ of the West of Ireland.
Sligo has attracted €225 million in investment, establishing itself as a hub for digital technology. Projects include the establishment of North West Tech Cluster; the development of 5G capable infrastructure; its innovation and education supports for SMEs at IT Sligo; and the creation of digital spaces, such as The Building Block and The Landing Space.
Curtin contends that the Irish towns that invest in digital infrastructure benefit from an increase in revenue employment and public and private services.
Furthermore, specialised tech companies such as Overstock, LiveTiles and Abtran have been drawn to the appeal of the region in recent years. As a result, creating hundreds of jobs in the area.
Sligo boasts many digital programmes and spaces. Its digital capabilities have connected the town to Ireland’s growing network of regional digital hubs, such as Skibbereen’s Ludgate Hub.
However, while Sligo advances, much of Connacht is experiencing challenges. According to IE Domain Registry’s upcoming Digital Health Index report, 39% of Connacht-Ulster SMEs rate their internet connection as average, poor, or very poor. Just under two-thirds are not confident that the government can deliver the National Broadband Plan in its current form.
Yet, Phil Prentice, chief officer of the Scotland’s Towns Partnership said that towns that lack state-of-the-art digital infrastructure should maximise use of any existing assets: “While it’s always preferable to have high-speed broadband, a town can digitalise what it has. That often starts with addressing the ‘understanding’ gap.