New telecoms unit set up by DCC to leverage economic growth from 5GBlathnaid O’Deaon February 24, 2022 at 12:46 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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Dublin City Council (DCC) has set up a telecoms unit dedicated to speeding up the rollout of 5G and maximising its potential for economic growth in the region.

The DCC telecoms unit will support the delivery of telecoms above ground and underground. It will also ensure that the council’s future capital investments and infrastructure projects are telecoms proofed.

Owen Keegan, the DCC’s chief executive said that digital connectivity infrastructure, both fixed and wireless, continued to play “a critical and increasingly important role in Dublin’s economic development.”

“Covid-19 has reinforced the importance of connectivity in our cities and towns. Having the right type of connectivity is also essential for Dublin’s future competitiveness,” he added. “We are entering a new era of super connectivity with the emergence of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks. Local authorities have an important role to play in supporting the rollout of these networks. Telecom’s infrastructure is now seen as an essential utility just like water and electricity. Dublin as Ireland’s capital city needs to position itself as a leader in digital infrastructure to realise its potential and support the connectivity needs of residents, businesses and communities.”

The groundwork for the establishment of the unit was laid by Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Connect Research Centre for Future Networks and Connectivity and the Telecoms Infra Project (TIP).

Founded in 2016, TIP is a consortium of hundreds of companies which is internationally working to accelerate the deployment of open and disaggregated networks and high-speed wireless connectivity. The Connect centre is based at Trinity College, Dublin.

The new telecoms unit will help DCC meet its obligations under the European Electronic Communication Code. Its members will work alongside the DCC’s Smart City Team to make sure that there is an associated innovation work programme that will leverage corporate investments.

Prof Dan Kilper, director of the Connect centre said that the DCC’s “vision and leadership in its telecoms and Smart City programmes” had received “global attention.”

He added that the launch of the dedicated telecoms unit would strengthen their impact and enable them to “better deliver innovations and build the workforce in these high growth tech areas.”

According to Heather Humphries, Minister for Rural and Community Development, the DCC’s new unit is a sign that it recognises that deploying telecoms equipment in the public realm is a “complex task that needs an expert coordinating body.”

Humphries said she was sure that other local authorities across the country would follow the unit’s work with great interest.

The DCC’s new unit is the latest in its ‘smart city’ strategy, which has seen it develop partnerships with a range of tech stakeholders from SoftBank to Vodafone.

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