BILLIONARE Tesla founder Elon Musk is bringing high speed broadband to west Cork to help businesses with poor internet connection.
While the digital economy has experienced a boon during lockdown, a number of businesses in Knockawaddra, west Cork, have had to live with shaky Wifi connectivity throughout the pandemic – cutting them off from crucial economic opportunities.
In search of a solution, a group of locals got in touch with the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Space X founder to ask if he could offer any assistance.
SpaceX, Musk’s company founded “with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars”, has agreed to trial its Starlink satellite programme in the barren broadband terrain of Knockawaddra.
This will be the second Irish venture undertaken by SpaceX; the first being the Starlink broadband services provided t Black Valley, Co. Kerry, as part of a project piloting the new technology in collaboration with the Department of Rural and Community Development and ComReg.
Starlink is supposed to provide cheap and fast broadband through a string of satellites that will beam connection to rural areas throughout the world.
The rolling, sparsely populated hills of Irelands countryside therefore make an ideal testing ground.
Among the first to trial the new connectivity will be landscape designer Lesley Cox, and Businesswoman Emma Fitzpatrick, who runs the wellness company Nourishing Therapies.
Emma told the Irish Daily Star that she first reached out to the tech billionaire out of desperation to resolve her broadband problems.
She explained: "We're in a broadband dead-zone and there are four businesses now working from home and finding it impossible to work with poor and inadequate broadband.
"In an act of desperation, I reached out to Tesla to see if they'd be interested in trialling Starlink in our area.
"Space X then contacted us this week to offer to trial Starlink through myself and Lesley.
"The equipment is now in transit. We're really excited about it."