London, Dublin, Arranmore: the technology to work from anywhere.

Three Business Blog Team
By:
On: 7 May 2019
Share this post

Adrian Seamus Arranmore

In this blog, Seamus Bonner and Adrian Begley of Arranmore Island Community Council introduce the ultra well-connected Digital Hub, a jewel in Arranmore Island’s rejuvenation project, providing a co-working space to rival those in the world’s biggest cities.

Imagine a co-working space dominated by sea views and the vast Donegal sky, while your laptop connects to high-speed Wi-Fi. Later, you’ll grab a coffee and step into the next room for a teleconference with Chicago. That’s set to be the reality for anyone working at our new Digital Hub here in Arranmore, part of the island rejuvenation project designed to inject new life into the island’s businesses and wider community.

The vision to connect Arranmore – and deliver this new hub that’s on a par with the best shared-working spaces in any city in the world – began over two years ago, when we surveyed locals about the island and our extensive diaspora. We wanted to know what it would take for the diaspora in particular to come back home, and not surprisingly, they said that to survive, they have to be able to work here.

While traditional industries like farming and fishing continue on Arranmore, many people end up in industries that have a heavy IT focus, like finance or law. The feedback we got in the survey made it clear that Arranmore’s limited Internet connectivity was a big stumbling block to people coming home to work, when connectivity is absolutely central to the work they do.

Connected and ready.

Fast forward to May 2019, and the funding we were able to access through the Department of Rural and Community Development via Donegal County Council as part of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme as well as our partnership with Three Business has given us not just the answer to our connectivity problems, but so much more, including high-speed connectivity for our health centre, schools and community centre.

The Digital Hub is one particular point of pride. Over the past few weeks, the first residents have been trying it out in advance of our launch later this month. We’ve set up a commercial model that we think will work well: people can rent desks by the day, week or month – whatever their need is. The videoconferencing and breakout room has the Cisco WebEx set-up that lets people connect into meetings anywhere in the world, and there’s even accommodation right on site, in the form of eight rooms available to rent.

There’s also other accommodation within walking distance – everything from bed-and-breakfast to self-catering – as well as a really good air link to Dublin via Donegal Airport.

All the pieces are in place to make Arranmore hugely attractive for that diaspora who really want to come home, and who’ve just been waiting for something like the Digital Hub to be ready. Our research showed that at least 20 individuals and their families are wanting to come back to Arranmore to work for at least part of the year, and we are thrilled to be able to meet their needs for a comfortable, sociable, well-connected workspace.

Beyond the diaspora to knowledge industries and workers everywhere.

We also have our sights on more than just people who grew up on Arranmore and would like to move back. We know there are also nomadic workers who travel and stop off at interesting locations around the world, and work wherever they are. Arranmore’s Digital Hub is perfect for them, as well as for other people who may want to settle on the island permanently, who may work in jobs in HR, finance, or other industries which lend themselves to remote working.

We are also connected to Grow Remote, a network which promotes remote working as a community development tool, especially in rural areas. Grow Remote is now across four countries, and we’re learning from them and from other co-working spaces around Ireland, as we figure out best practice and try to promote the most positive working atmosphere for our Digital Hub.

The Digital Hub and the wider project of rejuvenating Arranmore are both long-term, and we’re just at the beginning of the process. We want to entice distant islanders to come home and new islanders to come live in Arranmore, but we also want more than that: we’re hoping to reach out to other companies and individuals who want to link up with Arranmore and do business on the island or with the island.

Tourism, which is already robust here, is an obvious area for growth, and given the interest we’ve already seen in the Arranmore story following the launch, we hope to see a busy summer season. Already there is a list of small craftworkers on the island at madeinarranmore.com who are selling their goods online, and there are a number of upcoming festivals, all of whom will make excellent use of the island’s brand-new connectivity and resources.

We know that it’s all ahead of us on Arranmore, but already there’s so much here. Arranmore has a great deal going for it, and all the new connectivity and resources – including the Digital Hub – will be a huge benefit in promoting what we have, and in making what we have sustainable.

If you’d like to find out more about Arranmore, visit http://madeinarranmore.com/ or find out more about the Digital Hub, MODAM (Mol Oifig Digiteach Árainn Mhór), at https://modam.work/

If you are interested in learning more about how Three Business are transforming the island of Arranmore, visit our dedicated website: