A rural community builds its own FTTP broadband network

Non-profit brings 150Mbps connectivity to Kilkenny-Waterford-Tipperary border

The life

Jim O’Brien, Broadband 4 Our Community; Paul Walsh; Declan Rice, CEO, Kilkenny Leader; Vernon Buckley; and Kate Foley of Iverk Produce/O’Shea Farm. Credit: Dylan Vaughan

A non-profit, volunteer-run company that has provided access to 150Mbps connectivity to 750 homes and businesses near the Kilkenny-Waterford-Tipperary border.

Serving the town of Piltown and Fiddown, and surrounding areas Broadband 4 Our Community (B4OC) has given local homes and businesses access to speeds of up to 150Mb/s.

B4OC’s vision was first hinted at by Kilkenny Leader Partnership (KLP) in 2019. the community to develop and advance the project. After that, the community went on and did everything else,” said project manager Jim O’Brien.


“Companies donated bits, gave us other items we needed at cost, and dug deep with us. My own father-in-law is a retired installer and he was in the trenches and on the poles with me as we built the infrastructure. All of this was built on private land and sits in the landscape. We have now completed phase 1 and we have a few phases left.

Piltown and Fiddown are among around 20 villages and towns of similar size to Kilkenny which have been classified as having “adequate broadband” under a European standard set in 2010 and are therefore not considered for investment under the plan national broadband.

“This is a network that our community is invested in,” said B4OC President Brian Doyle. “Since laying fiber optic cables is expensive, using the scalable FTTP model used by the telecommunications industry was the only way forward.

“Doing it primarily ourselves meant our costs were significantly reduced. It is a service of the community, for the community, owned by the community and operated in its interest. It is a much lighter development model and operates on a non-profit community basis. We even hope to be able to pay out a community dividend and the intention is that this money will fund other community projects.

CEO of Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Declan Rice, added: “Community development and ownership of future-proof FTTP networks should be as familiar as local ‘community water systems’, of which there are many. hundreds. Installing FTTP networks is not rocket science, in many ways it is easier than a group water system to install.

“While a fiber network will require seed money to get started and requires broader landowner and community cooperation, as Piltown-Fiddown has shown, it can be done. By developing and above all by retaining ownership of the fiber network, a community takes control of its digital future. It can set a cost that the community can bear, not one that the commercial market will maximize. And he can, in addition to having a maintenance fund, use part of the additional income to support other community projects. Piltown-Fiddown should not be the exception, it should just be the pioneer.

TechCentral Journalists

Read more: broadband connectivity digital transformation fiber to premises FTTP networks rural development

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