Have you ever dreamed of that faraway work station, free from bustling city-life distractions and surrounded by picturesque views?
Well, a few miles off Ireland's stormy north-west coast, along the Wild Atlantic Way, lies an island now fully connected to the digital age.
The Co Donegal island of Arranmore, with a population of 469 people, is now one of the most connected places on Earth thanks to a concerted effort by the local community and businesses teaming up with Mobile operator Three Ireland.
The old pool room of a former restaurant has been transformed into a new digital hub – Mol Oifig Digiteach Árainn Mhór (MODAM) or Digital Hub Office Arannmore, complete with remote-working desks and the latest conferencing facilities.
It is hoped the rollout, which includes eleven modern computers with curved screens, can boost the islands economic and social wellbeing and attract home some of the island’s huge global diaspora.
Irish cellphone and internet service company Three Ireland partnered with the local council and installed a wireless leased line at the hub, as well as a managed local area network (LAN), managed firewall, video conferencing and teleconferencing.
This technology has provided 100Mbps of uncontended broadband and a number of businesses and remote workers have already started using the hub, which has 13 spaces.
Up until now, the lack of connectivity had made working remotely from the island almost impossible and restricted the ability to establish a business, or for existing businesses on the island to grow.
Eóin MacManus, business and enterprise director at Three Ireland, told the Irish Examiner:
“There’s the existing inhabitants not having to go to urban centers for everything; there are the people who have had to move away to create a lifestyle for themselves and can now move back and spend longer holidays here; and those who have never lived here and want to experiment, whether it’s to write a book or create or design something.
Adrian Begley, of Arranmore Business Council, said the island’s longer-term plan is for physical superspeed fiber cable to be connected to the island, and that the initial phase had plenty of scope to expand.
“The plan is that it can be the most connected island in the world,” he said.
The project also includes Wi-Fi and LAN connectivity at the local school, new broadband routers at Arranmore Co-Op and Arranmore Community Centre; Wi-Fi hubs and Wi-Fi-enabled pay points aboard the Arranmore ferry; telemedicine facilities at the island’s medical center and broadband connectivity at the Arranmore hostel.
What do you think of Arranmore as a digital hub? Have you ever visited the island? Let us know in the comments below.