SOUTH Kilkenny’s Piltown is the overall winner of the second annual .IE Digital Town Awards 2022’
The villagre picked up first place in the Digital Business category.
The result was announced today at a virtual awards ceremony attended by Minister Damien English at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
The awards were established in 2021 by .IE, the managers of Ireland’s trusted online .ie address.
They recognise local town and community projects and the people that are using digital innovation, technologies, and digital-first thinking for the betterment of towns, citizens, and services in the community.
Piltown’s ‘Taking Charge of our Digital Future’ entry was shortlisted in two categories (Digital Business and Digital Changemaker) for its work in building, promoting, and managing the village’s high-speed network.
Judges commended Piltown for the manner in which the local community had fully embraced the project with landowners granting access to land and volunteers working to lay more than 6km of cables, training as fibre optic technicians and providing crucial expertise pro bono.
Chair of the judging panel, Joan Mulvihill, told Kilkenny Press: “The Piltown community showed extraordinary resolve and determination in putting their town on the digital map.
“Support from businesses and landowners, those who prepared the ground and laid cables, every aspect of this entry is commendable.
“In recognising Piltown are confident that there are great things to come. This is truly a lighthouse digital town.”
Piltown is believed to be Ireland’s first community owned and managed FTTP ‘fibre to the premises’ network.
As part of the initiative four members of the community have been trained as fibre optic technicians and a digital hub and community centre now serves 37 groups in the area.
As winner in the Digital Business category, Piltown’s entry won €9,000, sponsored by Vodaphone.
It was then awarded an additional prize of €10,000 as overall winner bringing its total prize winnings to €19,000.
Minister English said the award scheme was an important annual event that recognise the remarkable efforts made by local digital champions are determined to future-proof the places where they work, rest and play.”