€5 million investment by Government in Irish technology 80 jobs to be directly created in Phase I

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan today announced a partnership with Intune Networks to establish the first exemplar communications test bed.

The Exemplar Test Bed will utilise the technology invented in Ireland by two graduate students from UCD and developed by Irish company Intune Networks.

The company has invented a technology – Optical Packet Switch and Transport – which could potentially replace the thousands of silicon computer chips used in internet switches today. Essentially, they have invented a network for the high-speed, low-energy, high-quality transfer of data.

This technology can eliminate costly bottlenecks of data on networks. The dramatic reductions in the amount of energy they use make this technology an attractive prospect for major international companies.

Today, the Minister announced that the Government would invest €5 million in Phase I of this project. The aim is that companies will use the test bed for Research and Development purposes. Already, companies such as Eircom, EMC, Imagine, BT, IBM, ESB Telecom, Imagine, e-Net, Firecomms, Opennet and CeltixConnect have entered into discussions with the Department.

UCD, DCU, UCC Tyndall, NUI Galway and Science Foundation Ireland have also expressed an interest in using this technology for their research purposes.

The test-bed has 64 granted patents which secure the technology and which ensure that Ireland is the first country in the world to offer such a facility. The test-bed is 100% owned by the Government.

The Test-bed will be build in Parkwest Business Park in Dublin and will be open for business, on an open-access basis, in July of this year. 80 jobs will be created directly in Phase I.

Announcing the initiative the Minister said, “Today we are investing in the new economy. This technology was invented in Irish universities and developed by an Irish company. It has the potential to revolutionise the internet, transferring data faster and in higher quality than previous technology. Their invention also vastly reduces the associated energy costs. It represents a very exciting prospect to test the applications and services of the future internet.

Our partnership with Intune is unique. Government is making the initial investment, will own the test-bed and will ensure it is operated on an open access basis, so that companies and universities can use the network for their own research and development.

Last year, we launched our strategy for the development of the digital economy in Ireland. Less than a year later we will be up and running with a revolutionary new network that will position Ireland as an international test bed for high-tech, low-energy technology.

We are investing in ourselves, in our own ingenuity. We are betting on ourselves and in so doing helping to create the technology and jobs of tomorrow.”

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