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Web Summit founder threatens to pull out of Ireland over wi-fi fiasco

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Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the Web Summit. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the Web Summit. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the Web Summit. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

ONE of the Web Summit co-founders has threatened to relocate the event to mainland Europe following a string of embarrassing wi-fi failures at the RDS.

Paddy Cosgrave implored the Ballsbridge venue to work with the summit and allow the organisation to control the wi-fi connection.

For three days in a row, the internet service went down sporadically at the tech gathering.

The continued problems led to humorous jibes online, but Mr Cosgrave was not impressed.

The event was attended by more than 22,000 people. Most had travelled form overseas.

"I think it's unfortunate that huge global companies that provide wi-fi for conferences bigger than this, and do it very well, are not allowed to do it," Mr Cosgrave said.

"I would implore RDS to allow us control our own w-fi at the event with a partner like Vodafone or Cisco, who have both offered to provide for the event for a number of years."

Mr Cosgrave said that there was no venue alternative that was big enough and threatened to relocate the event, which is worth an estimated €102m to the Irish economy, "elsewhere in Europe".

"Unfortunately there's just no venue big enough in Ireland," he said.

"Our only option is to hope the RDS is prepared to work with us, which I believe they are.

"Chief executive Michael Duffy is a very reasonable man, a very good guy and I'm sure he'll be more than willing to work with us," he added.

Following the comments, a joint statement was released by Mr Cosgrave and Mr Duffy last night.

In it, Mr Cosgrave said that notwithstanding wi-fi issues, "the RDS is a great venue".

And Mr Duffy said the venue would move forward with the Web Summit organisers to ensure that it remains "the world class technology event that it has become".

"We are 100pc committed to working hand in hand with the Web Summit team in order to ensure that these issues are resolved, by whatever means required, ahead of the next event in 2015," he said.

ARTISTS

Yesterday's guests speakers included Bono and Adrian Grenier, star of the TV series Entourage and also a founder of two start-up companies shft.com and Wreckroom Records.

He told the summit that modern artists and musicians were giving up on the rock and roll lifestyle for the "start-up mentality".

"The romance of that excessive lifestyle is over.

"I think people are a little more down to earth about being artists again," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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