At the launch, Shell also announced that the company will provide 132 kilometres of high capacity fibre broadband to the State in ducting put in place by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR). The ducting runs alongside the Corrib gas pipeline. Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) and its partners Statoil and Vermilion Resources will invest €750,000 in the installation of the fibre optic cable, which will then be handed over to the State, specifically to the DCENR, to support regional development in the West.
In the coming weeks, SEPIL will invite bids from expert third party contractors to carry out the installation work. SEPIL expects the cable installation to commence early in 2015. When completed, ownership of the fibre optic infrastructure will be passed to the DCENR. The Department will then invite tenders from commercial providers to energise the cable and bring broadband connectivity to customers along the route (see attached map). SEPIL and the DCENR expect the new broadband infrastructure will be available to telecoms operators in 2015, allowing them to connect customers.
Speaking at the launch of Erris Enterprise Week and the announcement of Shell’s €750,000 broadband investment for the West of Ireland, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., said “I am delighted to launch Shell’s Enterprise Week, which is bringing local SMEs and start-ups together to debate and innovate. Shell's announcement of a €750,000 investment in broadband will light up the North West coast and will transform the region's access to the internet. High speed broadband connectivity is absolutely vital to business and modern life, and this investment will make a huge difference to the west of Ireland and the many thousands of people and businesses who will benefit from the new services."
The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Alex White T.D. thanked Shell for their support, saying “Delivering high quality broadband to all parts of Ireland is a key priority for Government and for my Department. The decision by my Department, to invest €5m in the provision of this ducting while the gas pipeline was being constructed will allow telecoms providers to deliver high quality services to businesses and householders along this extensive route. Commissioning of these ducts is being advanced immediately by my Department. In parallel with this project, intensive design work is underway to deliver an ambitious State investment in broadband which will deliver quality broadband of at least 30mbps to every home and business in Ireland, regardless of where they are located.”
Michael Crothers, SEPIL’s Managing Director, said “We are very pleased to be joined by An Taoiseach today, for the launch of our third annual Erris Enterprise Week and especially for the announcement of our investment in new broadband infrastructure for the people of Mayo and Galway. We hope the cable installation work will start early next year, and once we’ve handed it over to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, it will be available to commercial broadband providers to provide services to people and business in the West of Ireland. This fibre optic superhighway will enhance people’s daily lives, expand options for education, and provide exciting new opportunities for businesses in the West. ”
“Throughout the development of the Corrib Gas Project, we have supported local enterprises. A major part of the excellent work that has been done on the project has been carried out by local contractors. We hope to see as many of them here as possible during the week ahead, joining with other entrepreneurs from across Co. Mayo, to take advantage of a valuable programme during our 2014 Erris Enterprise Week.”
Notes to Editors:
- The Corrib Gas Partners are Shell E&P Ireland Limited (45% - Operator), Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited (36.5%) and Vermilion Energy (18.5%).
- From 2005 - 2007, when BGÉ was installing the gas pipeline from Galway to Bellanaboy, DCENR commissioned BGÉ to install parallel ducts that could be used subsequently to provide telecommunications infrastructure. The ducts were installed at a cost of €5.38m.
- For further information on Erris Enterprise Week, please visit www.shell.ie