Over the past 18 months AirSpeed Telecom has achieved 40pc revenue growth and taken on 12 new staff, according to CEO Liam O’Kelly, who was the winner of the RSM Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the European Business Awards last May.

A broadcast engineer by profession, O’Kelly had originally set up a company called Viscom, which built TV stations and broadcast facilities globally.

By 2002, new radio technologies were emerging and he could see that these had the real potential to offer an alternative telecommunications system to businesses all over Ireland, including in remote regions such as Donegal, Kerry and along the west coast of Ireland.

“The existing operators weren’t meeting the business needs of customers and the lack of infrastructure meant available service was intermittent and expensive. So, in 2003, with help from some long-term partners, I set up AirSpeed Telecom,” he explained.

“With two engineers and one sales person to begin with, we set about building a carrier class network with extensive reach internationally and with peering and interconnect arrangements internationally.”

Today, AirSpeed Telecom’s clients include Zurich, Dairygold, Keelings Group, RTE and Irish Distillers and it employs 50 people in Dublin and Cork.

“We offer a full range of managed telecommunications services. None of our business is outsourced and our customers have unprecedented access to our technical support engineers,” said O’Kelly.

“We also offer a live broadcast service called Livelinx which delivers on-demand wireless broadcasting over the AirSpeed Telecom network. TV3 uses this regularly for live news broadcasts while Tattersalls has used it to broadcast horse racing live.”

The broadband for schools project

AirSpeed Telecom is one of the key providers in the broadband for schools project, which started a couple of years ago.

“This project is firmly on track and will be completed before students return for the beginning of the new school year in September. AirSpeed Telecom will have provided a 100 Mbps service to a quarter of all secondary schools across the country, including a range of diverse geographical locations such as the Aran Islands,” says O’Kelly.

“When the work is completed, it will mark the end of this Government initiative, meaning that all first and second level schools in the country will have access to high speed broadband.”

While AirSpeed Telecom mainly operates in the Republic of Ireland, it opened an office in Northern Ireland last year to meet demand from businesses in the region.

“We are now building our infrastructure in the region and are providing services top clients in Belfast, Craigavon and Lisburn. This initiative provides us with the ability to bring Northern Ireland sites from their existing customer base, such as Irish Distillers, onto an all-Ireland network,” O’Kelly explained.

“We also have infrastructure in the UK and the US as well as interconnect arrangements internationally which are used to service Irish companies who have global communications needs such as Dairygold and United Drug.

“Being involved with the European Business Awards has really provided us with an opportunity to take a wider view of our business and look towards the wider European territories for future expansion. We can particularly focus on markets that have similar requirements to Ireland with a view to moving into that area.

“There are a number of other markets in Europe which experience similar issues to us such as lack of affordable high bandwidth infrastructure, so we are well positioned to look at these markets with our business model.”

Anyone interested nominating themselves or a business in one of the European Business Awards categories can email eba@rsmfgs.ie or visit www.rsmfarrellgrantsparks.ie for further information

Sorcha Corcoran